A Deputy Minister of Health, Dr. Bernard Okoe Boye has shot down calls by some members of the public for the Electoral Commission to halt the new voters’ registration exercise due to the spread of COVID-19.
According to the Deputy Minister, many countries are embarking on elections irrespective of the disease.
Addressing the media after distribution of hand sanitizers and face masks to applicants for the new voters’ ID in the Teshie community, Dr. Bernard Okoe Boye said quitting the registration process does not guarantee one’s safety against the disease.
“The whole world is out there knowing very much that there is a virus out there and so we are all taught to engage in what is referred to in public health as risk behaviour. The only guarantee you have is to reduce your risk and the only way you can have an avoidance of zero risk is when you are dead and out of this world. So on the thought that quitting the registration, the question I ask is that, those who are asking for government to quit the exercise, how come they still go to work?”
“They go to work now that we are recording positive cases at the workplace but why won’t they say close workplaces, close lorry stations, close the markets, close the radio stations and close TV so that all of us will be in our rooms? Immediately you go to that level, the risk of death and the quality of life becomes higher than that of the virus and so let me quickly say that in Croatia, they’ve had their elections, Egypt is going to have their elections next month, Japan has had elections and the US will be having their elections. All these countries are having elections with sanitisers around, thermometer guns, and face masks around. That is how the world must behave until we get a vaccine and push this virus out.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Okoe Boye also urged the public to wear face shields and masks to protect themselves from the virus.
“Let me speak about this face shield. Once again, the more of the protocols you observe, the greater you reduce your risk. If someone wears a mask and avoids crowds or keeps a distance, they’ve applied two protocols so their risk is lower. If you wear a mask and sit next to another person scratch your eyes, the virus can descend so the point we must understand is that no protocol is 100 percent or virus-proof what it does is reduce your risk further so that when I’m in a face shield my risk is lower than the one who is without anything but if I’m wearing the face shield and the mask, my risk is further lowered.”
Pause voter registration exercise to prevent more COVID-19 deaths
Some health professionals in the country had earlier written to the Electoral Commission asking the electoral management body to pause the ongoing voter registration exercise until safer ways of conducting the exercise are identified to prevent further spread of COVID-19.
According to them, suspending the exercise will help prevent needless Coronavirus deaths in the country.
“Pause the mass registration, figure out safer ways of carrying it out and prevent Ghana from suffering potentially thousands of deaths or continue with the exercise in this form and be remembered by posterity as a leader who supervised an exercise that allowed for the loss of multiple lives,” the group said in its letter to the commission.