The most ridiculous rationalisation by a government

The President was exposed to somebody who later tested positive of COVID-19. The President, although not showing any symptoms, subjected himself to a test, contrary to Government’s own testing regime, which insist that only symptomatic persons shall be tested.

According to the press release, the President tested negative, but elected to embark on a cautionary “self-isolation”. In theory and practice, only persons who have tested positive of an infectious disease, go into any form of isolation. As the release was signed by the Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, who has been the lead spokesperson for the National Covid-19 taskforce, I am of the firm belief that the medics and experts in the team, had an input in the release. Any form of exclusion pre-test, is a quarantine, so we are right to question why our President would rather go into isolation and not quarantine, more so that the release has indicated that he has tested negative as of the day he took the decision.

To make any sense of the press release; (i) the President was exposed to a COVID-19 carrier;(ii) the President is asymptomatic; (iii) the President took a test and returned a negative result; (iv) Although not showing any symptoms and also after testing negative, the President has decided, out of the abundance of caution, to self-isolate for fourteen (14) days.

Now, let’s apply the wisdom above, to the Accra Girls’ Senior High School case. What is good for the goose, is also good for the gander. The Kente weavers of Agotime Kpetoe in the Volta Region, the people who invented the Kente art, have this maxim: “whatever applies to Dede, must apply to Korkor”. I do so, with the knowledge that Ghana is a democratic state, oiled by principles like justice and equality.

Accra Girls’ SHS has recorded 6 positive cases of COVID-19. Until the six girls were tested and confirmed as positive, just as the “person in the close inner circle” of the President, was exposed to the the over 1,700 students, teachers and non-teaching staff on campus. Out of the abundance of caution, which the President exercised, for which although tested negative, has elected to self-isolate for 14 days, the Accra Girls SHS students and their parents wish to be accorded same privilege. We have all seen the girls on television, openly demand to be allowed to return home. We have also seen their parents grant interviews to the media, concurring with their wards. They also want to exercise the same precautionary self-isolation, which our President is observing currently with his wife and grandchildren, which photo the Chief of Staff was said to have shared on social media. What is good for Akufo Addo, must surely be good for the Accra Girls’ Senior High School students.

Government communicators must do some further intellectual analysis of the things they tell us. They cannot be seen to be talking from both sides of their mouths, which I see in this case.

Effective teaching and learning is done with consideration for the overall mental state of the teacher and the student. The apparent state of apprehension among teachers and students, is counterproductive in the school environment as we have them now. Our students are in the classrooms alright, but their minds are all on their biosafety and the morbid fear of that being breached. This would have implications for the outcomes.

By George Kwaku Yeboah

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