LOCKDOWN CHRONICLES

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COVID brought some scares two years ago and public health strategies like lockdown were implemented in most countries to control the spread of the virus. During the brouhaha of whether or not Ghana should have a lockdown or not, my paranoia rose. I suspected at the slightest discomfort, that I had contracted the virus. Though many people were working from home, others were still working from the office – and I was part of the others. All this happened before the government decided that everyone should work in the safety of our homes and isolate themselves from others. Though it was a new way of working, it was also a good way to spend time with our families.

Even though the virus had already started to spread in other countries, according to the Royal Society of Tropical Hygiene and Medicine, Ghana’s case counts stood at 1,154 cases by 22nd April 2020. Out of this number, 120 patients had recovered and nine died. In Ghana, the first official cases of COVID-19 were reported on 12 March 2020 by the health minister in an announcement to the general public. The two cases were identified as people who had returned to the country from Norway and Turkey. These imported cases initiated the first contact tracing process in Ghana, helping detect several dozens of cases in a short period of time.

Following the discovery that the pandemic had already started to spread in Ghana, the government instituted measures to stop local spread of the infection and any further import of the virus into the country. Measures included shutting all land borders to the country together with the closure of the main international airport in Accra. Intermediary initiatives saw persons entering the country between the time of the announcement and the shutting of the borders being quarantined in 4- and 5-star hotels at the expense of the Ghanaian government.

It was in that period of time that “lockdown chronicles” struck. A series of virtual shows and games were introduced, people started getting more into social media and became content creators via YouTube, TikTok and Instagram. Even Ghanaian celebrities like Nadia Buari, Roselyn Ngissah and Shatta Wale made videos singing songs and various memes that trended during that period. All these virtual interactions made that difficult period bearable-they gave us content to relate to and laugh amidst all the chaos.

Reminiscing on the fun I had following all the funny and educative skits on social media and even the time I spent with my family playing games or doing chores made the lockdown period bearable. I remember a time when my sisters, mum, aunty and I were doing our usual Saturday chore of laundry, we stopped at a point, and decided to play “Ampe”. A simple energetic game often played by school age children, with even our neighbors joining. It is played by two or more people with each clapping and jumping and at the same time, thrusting one foot forward. Playing ampe was a very fun time which helped us ease the stress increased number of covid cases was around the time the number cases shot up. Wikipedia.

By 31 December 2020, the case count for COVID-19 in Ghana was 54,771 and 335 deaths had occurred, putting the country in 89th position on the COVID-19 Worldometer compiled by the Johns Hopkins University. Infections started going down in Ghana by September 2020 but within weeks they were up again. Health authorities attributed this to political rallies that were being organized as the country prepared to go to the polls on 7 December 2020 according to RSTMH. But of 3 January 2021, the Government of Ghana announced the re-opening of academic institutions to allow all school children and students to go back to school and also the lifted the partial lockdown but the restrictions on nightclubs and beaches were still in place.

How did you feel about covid and what was your lockdown chronicle?

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