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Ghanaian government criticized over unduly harsh Covid-19 measures

The Ghanaian government has been criticized for a recently-signed law which is aimed at containing the coronavirus outspread in the country.

Stranded commuters wait for transportation at a bus terminal during a protest by taxi operators over the government's financial relief for the taxi industry, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown, in Soweto, South Africa, June 22, 2020. RE

Ghanaian lawyer and Imani Africa vice president Kofi Bentil criticised the law which the Ghanaian government has adopted lately which implies that those who don't wear face masks in public places will be penalized through financial fine, jail, or both.

The Ghanaian president and his government have recently felt they had no choice but to take  drastic measures in an attempt to prevent further spread of Covid-19 among the nation, including introducing a law (E.I. 164) that criminalises the act of not wearing a face mask completely covering nose and mouth in public places.

Bentil, who is clearly opposed to the newly-introduced law, described the legislative measure as "bad" and suggested that it will be ignored, stating "when law doesn’t make sense it will be ignored and worthless".

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Face mask law calls for prison, fines or both

According to (E.I. 164) that was signed into law by Ghanaian president Akufo-Addo on June 15 offenders who fail to wear a face mask will face a penalty of four to ten years in prison, or fined 12000ghc-60000ghc, or both. The law is being imposed for a minimum of three months and applies to the whole country.

Bentil has furthered his argument by suggesting that that the law should have considered some exceptions such as an individual in an air-conditioned car. In his opinion there is no requirement for people in that situation to wear a mask. Moreover, he thinks that the punishments for breaking the law are unduly harsh.

Ghana has recorded 14,007 confirmed cases so far, with 10,473 patients having recovered, and 85 deaths. In terms of overall cases it is the fourth ranked African nation suffering with the Covid-19 pandemic, behind Egypt, South Africa and Nigeria.


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