The Inspector-General of Police has withdrawn an order directing its personnel to be on standby for a lockdown operation in Accra, Tema, Kumasi, and Obuasi over the novel coronavirus pandemic.
An internal police communiqué sighted by Citi News said that “further directives on the contents will be issued in due course.”
An earlier document from the police sighted by Citi News indicated that the Ghana Police Service was putting a strategy in place for a lockdown.
The police were to be supported by the Ghana Armed Forces, the Ghana Immigration Service and the Bureau of National Investigation.
The joint operation highlighted a number of roads and areas that were to be “sealed” during the lockdown.
In Accra for example, the Accra to Winneba route, the Accra to Kumasi route, the Accra to Akropong route and the Accra to Dodowa route, among others were cited for blocking by security personnel.
In its threat analysis, the police service noted that there was the possibility of “agitations and adverse reactions against the lockdown order.”
It also said there was “the likelihood of criminal elements taking advantage of the lockdown to loot businesses, stores and shops.”
There were to be 24/7 roadblocks and snap checkpoints to ensure compliance with the lockdown.
The police were also to conduct “robust day and night patrols to enforce directives” per their strategy.
All persons disregarding the lockdown were to be arrested and prosecuted.
Manpower for the lockdown
In view of this, the police service planned to “deploy all available uniform and plain cloth personnel for the operations.”
The Motor Transport and Traffic Directorate (MTTD) was to deploy “all traffic personnel to manage and enforce the lockdown.”
The National Patrol Department was to release 200 personnel “including senior police officers and inspectorate to support the exercise.”
The Criminal Investigation Department was also directed to release 400 personnel.
Other parts of the service expected to provide manpower were the Operations department, the Police Hospitals, the Chief Staff Officer and the Regional Commanders.
Gov’t close to a decision on lockdown
On the question of a possible lockdown in parts of the country, the Minister for Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has said the government is close to making a decision.
The Finance Minister has been directed to conduct an economic impact assessment of potential lockdown measures on the country.
President Nana Akufo-Addo has also said the government is holding extensive consultations on the matter.
“A responsible government is required to look at all the implications before decisions are made. And that is the exercise we are currently engaged in and I am hoping that much sooner than later we will come to an agreement on what those measures are and the Ghanaian people will be informed,” the President said on Thursday.
Already, there is a ban on public gatherings in place.
Ghana has also closed all borders into the country to human traffic.
Ghana currently has 136 cases of the virus with three deaths.
The information available indicates that the virus has been detected in the Greater Accra, Ashanti and Upper West Regions.