Beyond the loss of human lives and the pressure brought on health systems globally by the coronavirus pandemic, the disease is threatening livelihoods as businesses and economic activities have been severely impacted.
Aside from the aviation and tourism sectors, which have been badly hit, trading has generally seen a massive reduction.
In Ghana, some importers who rely on countries such as China and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for their goods; are unable to import due to the travel restrictions.
When Citi Business News visited the Opera Square in Accra, some traders said they may close down their shops because they are running out of stock.
Out of the 150,000 cases of the Coronavirus COVID-19 globally, with nearly 6,000 deaths, Ghana has recorded six cases, but with no death.
The economic impact of the spread is however sweeping across the world, as air travel which connects the world faster, has reduced drastically amidst growing fears of the pandemic.
Some airlines have had to waste thousands of gallons of fuel running almost empty flights.
In the USA for instance, the stock market crashed to its worst day since 1987 since the outbreak of the virus. Several business-related events around the world have been cancelled, leading to the loss of millions of dollars.
In Ghana, the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) has raised alarm over the possible shortage of goods by May 2020, as importers are unable to do business with China, the source of the disease.
At the Opera Square, one of Ghana’s major commercial centres, the usual hustle and bustle often seen there was missing as at 11:00am on Monday.
Some traders were seen sitting idle in their shops, waiting for buyers to throng the shops.
Kwamena Koranteng, the President of the Ghana Electrical Dealers Association (GEDA), told Citi Business News this has been the situation for the past one week, as people have reduced their visits to the market for fear of contracting the virus.
“We realized since last week that people are not coming to the market to buy our goods and it is definitely because of the virus” he said.
Unlike Mr. Koranteng, other traders are almost out of goods; and they need to travel to China or Dubai to stock their shops.
But the last time they travelled was in October 2019.
They have had to put their plans on hold due to the situation that makes traveling to certain places almost impossible.
One of them, Hajia Muna Buari, who is also the Organizer for the Ghana Electrical Dealers Association, told Citi Business News she has already increased the prices of some of her goods.
“I have already increased because I don’t have much. All that I have is almost finished so I have to increase it to make small profit. Those that were selling at Ghc20, are now between Ghc25 and Ghc28. Those selling at Ghc50 are now Ghc55 to Ghc60” she admitted.
As at 2018, trade between Ghana and China stood at US$7.3 billion, making Ghana the 7th largest trading partner of China in Africa that year.
Some traders say may be forced to close down their shops if the situation with the coronavirus persists.
“The fear is that we have to close down our shops because we can’t get goods to sell. When I run out of these things I have to close down the shop; that’s it”, she lamented.