Government Statistician, Professor Samuel Annim, has stated that movements after the partial lock-down was lifted decreased as compared to the period of the initial restrictions.
According to him, this affirms the effectiveness of the use of moral persuasion as a supporting intervention in the fight against COVID-19.
His analysis forms part of a mobility analysis report by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), Vodafone Ghana, and the Flowminder Foundation, which shows how population movements have changed since mobility restrictions were introduced and lifted, as part of government’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
In a statement issued by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), Vodafone Ghana, and the Flowminder Foundation, Professor Annim said, “The observation that mobility after the partial lockdown was lifted remains at levels lower than mobility during the periods of the baseline and the initial restrictions, including sanctioning social distancing and adherence to public health hygienic protocols.”
“This endorses the effectiveness of the use of moral suasion as a complementary intervention in the fight against COVID-19. Residents in Ghana deserve commendation for not reverting to the ways of living prior to the imposition of the initial restrictions and are therefore urged to continue with change in behaviour in order to contain the epidemic,” he added.
The outbreak of the novel Coronavirus pandemic which hit the country in March, necessitated the imposition on movements in Greater Accra, Greater Kumasi, Kasoa and Tema.
It also saw the ban on social and religious gatherings and the closure of the country’s borders as a means to curb the spread.
As a result, major businesses centres across these regions were closed to economic activity.
Currently, Ghana has recorded 5,918 COVID-19 cases with 1,754 recoveries; 31 deaths, and the lock-down has been lifted, but the ban on social gatherings still remains.
Data Scientist at Flowminder, Tracey Li, also explains that, “Our analysis highlights dramatic reduction in movements between districts and between regions throughout the period of study. We paid particular attention to the Greater Accra and Ashanti regions but also analysed movements in other areas around the country.”
“Overall, we see similar trends across the areas of study compared to the norm: a reduction of movements when the first measures were introduced, and a significant decrease in journeys during the lockdown period. Now the lockdown has been lifted, we’re starting to see an increase in movements again, but lower than what was the norm back in February,” she said.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Vodafone Ghana, Patricia Obo-Nai also noted that, “It is gratifying to know that our aggregated and anonymised data has produced insights which evaluate the effectiveness of the measures being implemented in this crucial fight and will ultimately support government’s response against the pandemic. This second report highlights how mobility insights can support policy making as it provides the Government with an accurate picture of how people moved between districts and regions.”
The report which follows an earlier one released on April 3, 2020, analysed the effects of mobility and social distancing interventions between 17 February and 03 May.
It highlighted the differences in population movements before, during and after the mobility restrictions were introduced, including the lockdown in parts of the Greater Accra and Greater Kumasi Metropolitan Areas.
The report also presented changes in travel within and between regions as well as changes in dispersion, (how people spread out from one region to another).