The streets of Accra buzzed with life on Monday, a day after Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo announced the end of a three-week lockdown on movement around the capital and the city of Kumasi.
While some Ghanaians were relieved to get back to work, others were left fretting after the country became the first in Africa to lift a coronavirus lockdown.
Jemima Adwoa Anim was overjoyed to be back out hawking her wares as pedestrians and cars returned to Accra’s central business district.
“It is a huge reprieve. We have a listening government,” she was quoted as saying by AFP news agency.
“It was a war-like situation. We had no money and we couldn’t step out to work to earn some cash. God bless our president.”
Ghana has so far confirmed 1,042 infections, with nine deaths, from the novel coronavirus.
The country of approximately 30 million has ramped up testing and checked over 68,000 samples.
President Akufo-Addo announced the lifting of restrictions in a televised address late on Sunday, saying the decision was taken “in view of our ability to undertake aggressive contact tracing of infected people, the enhancement of our capacity to test, the expansion in the numbers of our treatment and isolation centres”.
“This decision to restrict movement has occasioned a number of severe difficulties for all of us across the country, especially for the poor and vulnerable,” he said.
However, around the capital, there was plenty of criticism for the decision to ease restrictions.
“This is totally ridiculous. How is it possible?” asked 20-year-old student Francis Collison.
“We just recorded over 1,000 positive cases of COVID-19 and suddenly the president decided to lift the partial lockdown.”
Shopkeeper Rita Baido insisted she was not happy with the decision but had “no option” but to open her store and try to make money in the Accra suburb of Mallam.
“It has not been easy indoors, but I think it was the best solution to keep us safe,” she said.
Akufo-Addo said people were encouraged “to wear a mask wherever you go” to help contain the spread of the virus.