Seven things we learned on The Point of View: Major airlines likely to collapse due to coronavirus pandemic

With Ghana recording six confirmed cases of coronavirus outbreak, The Point of View on Citi TV centered its one-hour conversation on the coronavirus pandemic.

With “The Corona Meltdown: following the trail, counting the cost”, as the night’s topic, theghanareport.com brings you seven things that got us thinking.

  • Travel ban could have been immediate.

President Akufo-Addo on Sunday rolled out drastic measures to prevent the coronavirus spread. The announcement shut the country’s doors in the face of travelers whose countries had recorded over 200 cases. Panelists on the show appeared alarmed by the country’s six recorded cases and insisted that the ban should have come earlier than Sunday. They were also not amused that flights are still landing at the Kotoka International Airport. Their reason? It takes one to infect thousands.

  • Social distancing may not be the way out.

Social distancing may not be enough to avert the possible spread of the virus. Ghana’s informal sector cannot lend a hand to total lockdown. While other countries are cushioning their citizens as the coronavirus deal blows, Ghana lacks a social intervention program to effect a total lockdown.

A former Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Professor Agyeman Badu Akosah, was not charitable when he pointed out at the disappeared sanitisers on shelves. The empty shelves, he said, showed how the country couldn’t survive a lockdown.

“If you can’t go to the market, nobody will bring food to your doorsteps,” he said.

  • France putting Senegal in trouble. 

Senegal is in trouble as it records sub-Saharan Africa’s second-highest number of cases—26 after South Africa. The country’s cases are surging because French citizens do not need a passport to enter Senegal, all they need is their national ID cards. That Prof Akosah said was the reason the West African country’s numbers have hit double digits.

  • Train and equip more doctors.

Training more health personnel in the outbreak’s wake is dire, as Ghana confirmed six cases.  The $100 million promised by the President should be used to train doctors and nurses to ensure the country is well covered, in case the country records a lot more imported cases, Prof Akosah said.

  • Transport is the main sector to experience a huge dip.

Airlines will be one of the biggest losers as the coronavirus scare bites hard on travel. Health Economist at the University of Ghana, Dr Abeka Nkrumah, argued that the transport sector was bound to experience a huge dip. Most of the airlines are likely to collapse if the pandemic is not solved soon, he predicted. Hotel reservations, restaurants, cafes and chop bars are also likely to suffer.

  • Contact tracing is important at this stage.

The Ghana Health Service has been tracing persons who had contacts with Ghana’s infected six. Prof Akorsah did not mince words in pointing out that since the positive cases had been in the country for two weeks, we must assume that there’s community infection already.

  • The Health system must be revamped.

The ‘no bed syndrome’ must end. Questions that need answers: How many intensive care beds do we have? How many isolation centres do we have? How many ventilators do we have? We need to be doing this active preparation ahead of the contact tracing measures, the panelists said.

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