Authorities at the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly have asked traders at PZ-Asempa near Kejetia to halt their activities following their failure to comply with the social distancing protocols.
A taskforce from the Assembly has been deployed to the area to prevent traders from engaging in their usual activities.
Some of the traders who spoke to Citi News said they were ready to comply with social distancing protocols so long as they are not evacuated from the market.
“If they are asking us to practice social distancing, we have no problem with it but for them to evacuate us from here, we don’t understand. We have been here for more than 40 years. This is where we get our livelihood from. we can’t go and steal or go somewhere else.”
Reacting to the issue, authorities at the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly said the exercise is to also ensure the place is disinfected.
Afia Konadu Aboagye, Public Relations Officer of KMA who spoke to Citi News indicated that the traders have been cooperative.
“There was no social distancing. Even the traders who were coming to ply their trade were even struggling to enter so the Metropolitan Security Council (METSEC) asked if they have not heard of the education that has been ongoing for a while now. So METSEC asked that the place be closed down. The Chief Executive then asked that they should go for a compulsory COVID-19 test. They adhered to all the directives given to them. So on Saturday and Sunday, they went for the tests at the children’s hospital.”
“We asked them to submit a list of the traders and passport pictures as well. We also asked them to remove their sheds and tables so that we can disinfect and get the fire service to help us wash the place. That way we will then be able to know the space we have so that we can then demarcate it for them such that they will observe social distancing and cards will be printed for them so they come in turns,” she added.
The Mayor of Kumasi, Osei Assibey Antwi on Thursday, April 23, 2020, toured the Central Business District (CBD) of Kumasi on foot to sensitize hawkers, traders and commercial drivers on the need to observe the social distancing and nose mask-wearing protocols in the wake of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The team toured most parts of the Central Business District noted for its constant congestion.
At the PZ-Asempa area, the mayor condemned the packed nature of the traders and buyers in the second-hand phones and watches market.
The mayor was left with no option than to close down the mini-market until the traders undertook compulsory testing before they could be allowed to resume trading activities under the rotation system.
Thus, over the weekend, over 343 traders underwent compulsory testing in the Kumasi Metropolis.
Samples of 193 traders were taken at the Kumasi children’s hospital by 16 health volunteers and three staff of the hospital on Saturday while another 150 had their samples taken on Sunday following the directive of the Mayor.