Hundreds flee Accra, choke markets and shops to stock up ahead of lockdown  

Hundreds of people have begun fleeing Ghana’s capital as authorities prepare to lockdown parts of the country in a drastic move by the government to prevent the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus which has killed at least four persons in the country. Although people can during the lockdown which affects only the Greater Accra metropolitan area including Tema and Kasoa, and the Kumasi metropolitan area, step out to get essential food items and critical services, it appears residents are unaware of that flexibility. Bus terminals in Accra were Saturday morning flooded with overwhelming number of desperate passengers trying to secure vehicles to travel out of the city which will go on a partial lockdown from 1:00 a.m. Monday. From Madina, Cyril Dogbe reported a heavy gridlock on Adenta- Tetteh Quashie Highway which leads to the Eastern Region. By 8:00 a.m. Saturday there was a gridlock of both commercial and private vehicles form the Atomic Junction to Madina Zongo junction, some of who were travelling out of Accra to the Eastern Region area. A lot more people also stormed various major open air markets and supermarkets within Accra Saturday morning to stock-up foodstuff and toiletries among other essential supplies, to hunker down for the next two weeks. As expected, the situation created a gridlock along major routes within the city, causing people to spend hours in traffic in a bid to get to their destination. Social distancing which has been touted as the best approach to break the cycle of the virus transmission was blatantly disregarded by the thousands of people who moved out in town for various businesses. Footages and reports from our reporters showed many of the people crowded themselves in markets and shops to buy what they needed for the period while others crammed themselves in commercial vehicles without any form of protective gears. The situation has caused concerns from some people who fear the more people could likely contract the disease due to what has been described as recklessness of some shoppers who are engaged in panic buying. Reports from our correspondents showed prices of goods in the open air market had shot up by over 100 per cent with a tuber of yam which normally sells at 5 cedis going for 20 cedis. Rush for LPG caused many gas filling stations within the Accra metropolis to choke as people queued in the scorch sun for hours to fill their cylinders. [caption id="attachment_17563" align="aligncenter" width="853"] The stranded customers at Dansoman Saturday morning[/caption] From Dansoman, Joseph Armstrong reported the chaotic situation at a filling station at Dansoman forced authorities to shut the gate, leaving desperate customers stranded in the sun. The situation was no different at Odorkor, GICEL (SCC), Pantang, Mille 11 on the Kasoa Road and other parts of Accra as both vehicles and domestic users flooded the area. A lot more people are likely to try to catch the last intercity bus out of the city Sunday before the enforcement of the lock down kicks in from Monday dawn.

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