Scores of traders at the makeshift market close to the Ahenfie Hotel in Takoradi in the Western Region have remained apathetic to the wearing of nose masks despite the increasing cases of Covid-19.
The last update from the Western Region Directorate of the Ghana Health Service on Friday, July 23 showed that the current active Covid-19 cases stood at 55 with a total of 71 new suspected cases.
That at the beginning of 2021 the active cases in the region were less than 10 but having risen to 55 and counting has become a great source of worry to stakeholders in the Region.
And despite an increase in public sensitization on the need to adhere to the preventive protocols in apparent response to the reported “third wave” of the virus in the country, wearing of nose masks among traders is nothing to write home about.
Three months ago, thousands of traders at the Takoradi Market Circle were relocated to a makeshift market close to the Ahenfie Hotel to pave the way for the rehabilitation of the 90-year-old market.
The relocation was done under strict compliance with Covid-19 protocols.
In complying with the 2-meter social distancing protocol, markings were made on the floor to ensure that erected stalls were apart from each other.
“You know Covid-19 is still around, so you are all required to wear a nose mask at all times. Anyone who fails to do this will be dealt with severely. We don’t want anyone to get Covid,” Sekondi-Takoradi Mayor Abdul Issah Mumin had told the traders in the first week of their relocation.
However, a visit to the market on Tuesday, July 27 by Connect FM showed a rather worrying spectacle.
Scores of the traders were completely apathetic to the wearing of the nose masks despite the increasing cases of Covid-19.
Nine out of ten of the traders observed were not in a nose mask. Even with those who had their nose masks on, they were not wearing it appropriately as most of them had it on their chin.
Some of them only became conscious when they saw the news team around and asking why they were not in their nose masks.
Errant preachers, hawkers and a good number of people, apart from the traders, were also not in a nose mask.
Auntie Ama Adomah, a trader in species, told the news team that she does not like wearing the nose mask because it suffocates her.
“I prefer wearing the nose mask from children because that is more comfortable. With the ones for the adults, my dear, they are so uncomfortable, especially when I have to wear it for long hours.”
She is aware that the Covid-19 cases are on the increase but she stated that “God will take care of me because I don’t normally wear a nose mask and I am doing fine”.
Another trader, Monica Duku, had in her possession a box of nose masks but was not wearing one.
She explained: “I have been told that the best nose mask is the one with a white lining. Unfortunately, when I bought this new one, I did not open it. It was when I got home and opened it that I realized it was all black. So, I have brought it back and intends to exchange it that is why I am not using it”.
One of the traders was wearing her nose mask. However, all traders around her were not in a nose mask.
“I know the implications of not wearing a nose mask. And so, I am very careful. Yes, it is true that all the other traders around me are not in a nose mask. I do complain but there is little I can do about that. Sometimes, it becomes a bit confrontational so I have stopped complaining with the hope that they will do the right time. So, I am very careful when I have to handle things around”.
Sadly, no trader was able to provide a hand sanitizer when asked.