The Western Region Coordinating Council is engaging the services of officials from the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) in border districts to mount surveillance at routes into the Region.
According to the regional minister, Kwabena Otchere Darko-Mensah, the strategy is, among many others, designed to complement the efforts of the Ghana Immigration Service as security is heightened at both approved and unapproved routes in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Western Region like other border regions has several unapproved routes making it susceptible in the wake of the pandemic.
In a recent press briefing, Deputy Comptroller of Immigration (DCGI) in charge of Command Post and Operations, Laud Kwesi Affrifah, disclosed that 21 persons were arrested when they attempted to enter the country illegally through the Elubo border.
Since this disclosure, there has been a growing concern for surveillance at entry points into the Region especially unapproved ones to be heightened.
“I was very alarmed when I heard the number of people arrested for attempting to enter the [Western] Region illegally. What was reported was what they saw. If you look at the numerous unapproved routes, I will not be surprised that some people have entered already. So, it is important that more is done to watch our borders,” a worried resident of Sekondi-Takoradi, Adiza Sherif, told 3news.com.
Apart from the Elubo border, there are several entry points into the region especially through districts bordering Ivory Coast.
An equally worried Community Health Nurse at Agona Camp in the Wassa Amenfi Central District who only gave her name as Eudora sent a distress call to 3news.com, claiming that a man and his family from Togo four days ago entered the region and are currently at Bredi in the same district.
Mr Otchere Darko-Mensah in an interview assured that several strategies have been deployed to identify and arrest anyone who will attempt to cross into the Region.
“We have involved NADMO officials at all borders where we don’t have immigration [officers] so that we can have some kind of alarm system if people attempt to use these routes.”
Speaking on what could be done to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the regional minister explained that the best protection is self-protection and following religiously the basic rules offered by health experts.
“The best form of protection is self-protection. And so, the core thing is about hand washing. We have been told to wash our hands minimum six times in a day. And I don’t think washing our hands is a big headache that we cannot comply with in the next four weeks because now the virus has come into our communities. And you don’t know who is carrying it. So, I believe that if we quietly and consistently practice what the President has told us to do, we will be fine.”
The Western Region has already set up its emergency response team. District and regional hospitals have been tasked to set up isolation centers. Private hospitals have also been charged to do same.
The emergency response team has since been touring facilities in the Region to assess their level of preparedness against the disease.
By Eric Yaw Adjei|3news.com|Ghana