Arrest, prosecute and convict workers flouting coronavirus protocols – GBA
The Ghana Bar Association (GBA) has asked government to be stricter with the enforcement of laws meant to control spread of COVID-19 in the country.
The GBA in a press release stated that the increasing cases of COVID-19 at the workplace are a matter of great concern, and therefore urgent action is needed to address the development.
“The Ghana Bar Association (GBA) has noted with great disquiet the increasing number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country. The GBA is particularly concerned about the incidents of confirmed cases at institutions and businesses in general which have resulted in the shutting-down of some workplaces.
“The Bar therefore calls upon all citizens and residents of Ghana to comply with all laws that have been made as safeguards to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, and to guarantee public safety and protection. The GBA particularly entreats citizens and residents to ensure compliance with, among others, prescribed social distancing and enhanced hygiene protocols, and the wearing of face coverings at all times,” the GBA said.
Meanwhile, the Ghana Employers’ Association (GEA) has said that employers cannot be blamed for the recent surge in COVID-19 cases at the workplace; because employees, who are expected to take up more responsibility, be mindful of the disease and follow the COVID-19 safety protocols strictly, are reneging on their part of this duty.
Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Employers’ Association, Alex Frimpong, in an interview with the B&FT said: “Management must provide the facilities and all the things employees need to protect themselves, and that is being done – but employees also have the obligation to ensure they comply. All the things that we have to do have been done.
“After we close, nobody knows where anybody goes. This makes it difficult to tell where, when and how that happened. We all have a collective responsibility. Employees live in their own homes, they live in different communities; what they do after work, we don’t know. Unless the workplace has been infected already, but beyond that it is very difficult to hold the employer responsible,” he said.
The GBA statement, signed by the National President Anthony Forson Jnr. and National Secretary Yaw Acheampong Boafo, went on further to state that: “We hereby further call on all recognised Professional Bodies and Associations and the media to be ambassadors in a sustained effort to complement all efforts made so far to ensure public health, safety and protection. The increasing number of COVID-19 cases in institutions and establishments is worrying, and we must all cooperate and combat the pandemic in our dear country. It is in our interest that we comply with all laws and precautionary measures which have been put in place to stem spread of the COVID-19 virus.
“The GBA wishes to reinforce that persons who flout the said laws may be arrested, duly prosecuted and convicted. While in our preceding statement – issued on 30th June 2020, we advocated amendment of the laws to impose punishments that are less severe and more practical, the punishment regime has not changed. Thus, presently, the punishments for contravening the laws are severe.
“We wish to take this opportunity to call upon the Electoral Commission and law enforcement agencies to ensure that all the requisite protocols are strictly complied with.”
So far, the Supreme Court, Ministry of Finance, Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company Limited (BOST), Ghana Grid Company Limited (GRIDCo) and the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) are among the many institutions which have asked some of their staff to work from home as the institutions put in measures to address the spread of COVID-19 among workers. The Ghana Health Service has also expressed concern over the matter, and asked employers and employees to be more responsible.
As at July 15, 2020, the country had recorded 25,252 cases, and 21,397 had recovered leaving 3,716 active cases. The data from Ghana Health Service showed 264 new cases and 139 deaths. This means that the country’s death rate compared to confirmed cases remains under 1 percent.