Playing games with COVID-19

Playing games with COVID-19

Government’s revealingly resolute fight against COVID-19 appears to be an exercise in futility. Yes, so it seems!

You want to know why? Ok, wait a minute.  Just relax!

Today, it is not uncommon to see football parks and fields bustling in the mornings especially – with gross disregard for social distancing.  In many fields that one visited at Accra’s suburbs – Teshie and Nungua in particular, young footballers under the supervision of their coaches, were seen busily training with players being shoved off the ball by their colleagues in fierce challenge for possession.

Questions that freely flooded the mind were: have these players and their coaches heard of the noxious coronavirus (COVID-19); are they aware of how fatal the virus is and the tens of thousands that have perished from it?

Are they aware there is still a ban on social gathering? Are they aware all sporting activities, at least in the country, have been put on ice till further notice? Do they know they could spread the virus or contract it – depending on their current status?

Indeed, there are loads of ‘64,000-dollar questions’ that are edgily begging for responses – quick responses.

Whilst watching from afar as some of these boys train, a couple of police officers drove pass, only stealing glances from the window of their vehicles. Again, one quizzed; why were the police not interested in the gross violation of the President’s directive? Are they tired of performing their duties?

As of Wednesday, 7,117 people in Ghana have been infected by the virus with 2,317 recoveries and 34 deaths. Of course, the fatality ratio may be relatively insignificant, but we are certainly nowhere out of the woods. We are neck-deep in it!

Perhaps, we ought to remind everybody that it is now an offence to breach the COVID-19 safety protocols. It is even now a crime to walk into the public space without wearing a face mask.  Not so?

Indeed, quite a significant number of people are flouting the Imposition of Restrictions Act, 2020 (Act 1020) with glee and impunity; and this is the primary legal instrument in the government of Ghana’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

The police, though, has made some good number of arrests. Others, too, have been prosecuted and jailed or fined. Sadly, it has not proven to serve as enough deterrence.  Clearly, they (police) have got to do more!

It has been rumoured that the President is likely to relax the restrictions on COVID-19 this weekend, which ultimately means football and other sport disciplines could be navigating their way into action.

As a matter of fact, other countries like Germany have ushered home their football. The Bundesliga, the elite German league, restarted a fortnight ago, albeit it was held in an empty stadium.

However, until such time that the ban is lifted on mass gathering; it would be advisable for our young footballers and sports people to exercise restraint in their daily endeavours – especially with regard to training en mass.

At best, they can train individually at home, for now. Let us not take things for granted even if we are being told that COVID-19 has come to live with us.

PlainTalk with JOHN VIGAH

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