The Obuasi and Obuasi East Municipal Assemblies will, from Friday, May 8, close down major markets indefinitely as the area gradually becomes the new epic center for Covid-19 in the Ashanti Region.
The mining town accounts for 48 or one-third of 163 Covid-19 cases recorded in the Ashanti Region.
Authorities say the action follows the failure of market women and patrons to adhere to social distancing and other protocols meant to curb the spread of the virus.
The decision which was taken at a joint meeting of the two assemblies and other stakeholders on May 6, 2020, will affect hawking on streets of the Central Business District.
With 48 cases and one death, Obuasi tops the list of 16 of 43 districts in Ashanti Region that have recorded Covid-19.
Out of the positive cases, 35 were from enhanced surveillance and 13 from routine surveillance.
Despite the surge in cases over the period, residents, especially, market women continue to flout Covid-19 prevention protocols.
Obuasi Chief Executive, Elijah Adansi-Bonah, tells JoyNews the traders will have to endure repercussions for completely disregarding social distancing.
” I have also been going round to inspect the observance of social distancing and other protocols.
At first, they [traders] were observing the protocols and social distancing as well until recently; less than a week that realized that people had defied the directives from the President as well as what the assembly also put out. That even push the assembly to meet and then come out with this directive to close down the markets,” says Mr. Adansi-Bonah.
According to him, security operatives have been alerted to enforce the closure whilst monitoring developments at other satellite markets.
He implored all private and public establishments to enforce ‘no-mask, no entry’ directive, and handwashing protocols at all times.
A visit to both Obuasi Central A and B markets reveal a disturbing picture of traders lumping up, with no regard to preventive measures.
A few traders and patrons wear nose masks as they conduct brisk business.
The situation here is a concern to both authorities and some traders.
Some concerned traders say they are in support of the assembly’s decision to close down the markets.
“I support the closure of the market. It will go a long way to prevent further infections, especially in this crowded market. If the closure is to prevent further infections, why not,” says 56-year old Comfort Mensah who deals in dried fish.
Mr. Adansi-Bonah is alarmed by defiance of protocol amid continued doubt about the reality of Covid-19.