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Monday, January 30, 2023

Wa: Police to clampdown on recreational centres not observing Covid-19 safety protocols

Fridays and Saturdays are sleepless nights in the Wa municipality of the Upper West region of Ghana. Take a night stroll through some principal streets including the Wa market, Tendaaba-Kpaguri, and hospital streets and discover the endless nightlife scenes in the municipality.

Nightlife destinations in the municipality range from various drinking spots and food joints dotted along these principal streets. Top among the recreational venues, and highly recommended by residents is the “The Guy Spot” situated along the street leading to the Xavier Senior High School and “Fugitive” night club at Kunta.

“The Guy Spot” brings you an upscale experience. Plastic tables and chairs are arranged under both light and dark spots on the premises. Table arrangements entail one table and four chairs. The seating arrangement implies that the recommended COVID-19 safety protocol minimum physical distance of at least 1m each is not observed. With these closed settings, coupled with music blaring from the DJs set, conversations are had under extremely close contact, which also breaks the COVID-19 physical distance protocols.

Although the setting at The Guy Spot is outdoor, the place gets crowded at the weekends, requiring more tables and chairs. A bar attendant who pleaded for anonymity for fear of losing her job says management is torn between business and enforcing the protocols. “If we tell them to observe the COVID-19 protocols, they will go elsewhere. They are mature people, and we expect them to know better” she noted.

The Fugitive nightclub, with a capacity of about 400, adds a flavour to the night scene. Its choice of the latest Ghanaian and Nigeria Afropop music and a young audience spikes the energy in the atmosphere. However, patrons have no regard for the wearing of nose masks. Discussing the need to wear one with Musa also known as “King cash” was fascinating as the lad chooses to appear fashionable at the expense of his health. He seems not to understand why he should wear a nose mask as it will ruin his appearance and dressing.

“Ah masa the way I have dressed paaa if I put nose mask who will see me, e go spoil my combination self”, he says in pidgin. Dancing the night away starts around 11 o’clock within the enclosed club. Although there are air conditions, the crowd and dancing make people sweat and inevitably come into physical contact with each other.

Under the influence of alcohol and in a confined area, nobody cares about distancing protocols despite the few inscriptions about observing COVID-19 protocols at the bar. The crowd surges from that time till 4 a.m.

As the country braces itself for a possible fourth wave, what measures are in place to protect lives?

The Upper East Regional Public Relations Officer, Chief Inspector Ohene Boateng, disclosed that the police service is still gathering intelligence about the phenomenon and appropriate sanctions will be served, culprits.

“Those found culpable will be prosecuted. COVID-19 pandemic is real and there is the need to observe the preventive protocols”, he emphasised.

Chief Inspector Boateng encouraged recreational centres to make nose masks readily available to their customers as part of the effort to prevent the spread.

Ghana had recorded some 36 new Covid-19 raising the country’s case count to 130,077 cases with some 1,781 active cases. 127,121 persons have recovered from the virus while some 1,175 persons have died of the disease as of 30th October 2021 according to the Ghana Health Service Covid-19 dashboard.

The West African country has so far vaccinated some 2,979,766 as of 26th October 2021.

Ghana Health Service Covid-19 Dashboard.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation says it had received reports of some 245,373,039 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 4,979,421 deaths globally as of 4:40 pm CEST, 29 October 2021. A total of 6,838,727,352 vaccine doses have been administered during the same period.

This story is supported by Journalists for Human Rights under the Mobilizing Media to Fighting Covid-19 project.

By: Felix Lambert Dangma|www.zamireports.com|Wa.

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