Three Ghanaians have been confirmed dead as a result of the coronavirus outbreak in Italy and Denmark.Foreign Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchway who disclosed this to journalists outside parliament Wednesday said two of them died in Italy. In Ghana, traders are selling sanitizers at unbelievable prices. JHR has released a press statement condemning the act.
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JHR condemns unfair trading on sale of sanitizers amidst COVID-19 scare
Members and the executive body of Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) AUCC-Chapter consider the suspension of public gatherings and closure of basic schools and universities by His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo as welcoming. With the increasing rate of new infections and deaths in the wake of the global Coronavirus (COVID-19) scare, the televised pronouncement by the President on Sunday evening was a step in the right direction as this forms part of measures to avert its the spread. The executive arm of government has taken a positive stance in ensuring public safety, we as citizens equally owe it a responsibility in the fight against the global pandemic.
Quite worrying is the fact that prices of alcohol based hand sanitizers have run short of supply. Moreover, most supermarkets, pharmacy and chemical shops have taken undue advantage of the situation to sell the product at unreasonable prices. Some business owners particularly market women are also indulged in this negative practice. Since Ghana recorded its first case of COVID-19, prices of sanitizers have more than doubled with people cashing in on the sale of the product. In other jurisdictions, prices are up by 300 percent thus thwarting the effort of government in dealing with the situation at hand. In as much as the product is on high demand, this is the time for us as Ghanaians to show concern and act responsibly and not capitalize on the unfortunate turn of event to enrich themselves.
As human right activists, we think citizens have the right to fair trading as enshrined in the Consumer Protection Act of 2014. Over the years, the consumer protection act which aims to promote fairness , openness as well as good business practices on goods and services has suffered a major setback due to lack of compliance and enforcement.
Meanwhile the law is specifically designed to prevent unfair business practices that directly affect consumers on daily basis. Uncontrolled price tag and discrimination from sale of products and services have become the other of the day with vulnerable groups being the worst affected. JHR consider this as inhumane, irresponsible and an affront to people‘s right for fair trading.
JHR wishes to draw attention of government through the Consumer Protection Agency to act swiftly by coming out with a controlled price on sanitizers to alleviate the plight of the poor and less privileged. The move will help sanitize the system, thereby promoting fairness and social inclusiveness for the voiceless. It will to a larger extent contribute to the prevention and control of COVID-19 among other infectious diseases. To this background, it has become imperative for other concerned bodies to compliment the effort of government as it take steps to contain the pandemic.
Again, we call for close collaboration between the media and the health sector of the country in providing the right information to the general public as far as the viral disease is concerned. Social media and other news portals are flooded with information that are inaccurate and misleading. Therefore efforts must be made to help provide accurate and reliable information for public consumption. Misinformation on the deadly COVID-19 is a serious health threat and must be discarded. People should desist from falsehood in order not to create fear and panic. The general public is hereby advised to adhere to safety measures from government and the World Health Organisation. Additional info can be found here https://www.who.int/emergencies/disesaes/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public
Let us put shoulders to the wheel and fight this deadly scourge.
Together we can fight COVID-19!!!!
Michael Kofi Oduro President
Isaac Asare Owusu General Secretary
Selassie Amu Communications Officer
Contacts: +233 (0)208504585/ +233 (0)244088870/+233 (0)557123460 respectively