More African countries ease coronavirus lockdown
London, April 21, 2020 (AltAfrica)-Burkina Faso and Namibia have joined Ghana to gradually reopen their economies by partially lifting or easing the lockdown occasioned by Covid-19-coronavirus lockdown
In Burkina Faso, it was back to business at the sprawling central market of Ouagadougou, capital of Burkina Faso, on Monday after a closure of nearly a month in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
In Namibia, authorities in Windhoek said on Monday that the Namibian capital will re-open informal markets on Wednesday following amendments to COVID-19 lockdown regulations banning all open markets and informal trading activities
“It’s a joy to see the market reopen its doors,” said a Ouagadougou fabric dealer Boureima Compaore. “The situation was getting difficult for us.”
As of Sunday, the West African country had reported 36 deaths from among 576 cases of COVID-19.
Around 40 other markets were closed in the city of three million on March 25, two weeks after the first appearance of the virus in the country.
“It’s been a real hardship since the closure,” said Souleymane Sawadogo, a clothing vendor. “Now we’re relieved. We also hope customers won’t be afraid to come and buy.” He vowed that merchants would adhere strictly to “the most rigorous measures to keep the market open”
Namibia, which has reported 16 confirmed cases, six of which already recovered, has been enforcing a lockdown since March 27.
Oshetu Community Market, Okahandja Park Market and Soweto Market will be the first markets to re-open on Wednesday while the eight others will follow once disinfection is completed, the City of Windhoek said in a statement.
It said he ban on open markets and informal trading activities has had serious negative effects on informal traders, especially producers and vendors of fresh food produce.
“It has also been recognized that food is one of the listed essential goods, and that a large section of the population depend on informal trading and markets as the main avenue for them to either sell or source the essential produce or products, which in turn are their main source of income and survival,” the statement said.
Only fresh vegetables and fruits, raw meat and fish, dried food, dairy products, poultry products, cereals and flour products and cooked food prepared at home will be allowed to be sold at the open markets.
Traders and customers will be required to maintain social distancing and traders may be required to alternate on a daily basis to ensure that all traders have an opportunity to trade in cases where the area cannot facilitate social distancing.
Traders and their employees should wear masks as part of the amended regulations while sanitizers and other disinfectants must be provided to ensure that all those who enter and exit the trading areas follow set sanitizing or disinfecting procedures.
The city said the open markets will be assessed from time to time to determine compliance with the guidelines and provisions of regulations, and that non-compliance will result in the offending markets being shut down.
This makes Ghana one of the first countries worldwide to ease restrictions on movement during the pandemic