The Health Ministry is to engage the Police service on the implementation of the law on mask-wearing in the wake of COVID-19, deputy Health Minister Dr. Bernard Okoe Boye has said.
It comes after reports of draconian implementation of the law by police officers on traffic duties in the capital. Some residents of Accra have taken to social media to complain about police stoppage even when they are in their private cars alone with their air conditioners on but without the mask.
Portions of Ghana’s law on mask-wearing says “a person who fails to comply with the restrictions imposed under the Executive Instrument issued under subsection 1 of Section 2 commits an offense and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than 1,000 penalty unit (Gh¢12,000) and not more than 5,000 penalty units (Gh¢ 60,000) or to a term of imprisonment not less than four years and not more than 10 years or to both.”
Section 4 (1) of the E.I. 164 states further that the police have the authority to make random checks to “ensure enforcement compliance.
But speaking to Francis Abban on the Morning Starr Tuesday, Dr. Okoe Boye said the Police may have to relax their approach to the law when citizens are alone in their vehicles with their air conditions on.
“If you are in your car alone, the science does not support the position that you’re vulnerable to the virus or you could be infected. We will engage the police and find out which portions of the law they are trying to implement and how we can be on the same page. If someone is trying to arrest someone even if they are in their car alone, I don’t think we need an amendment of the law to change that, we believe that engaging the police will stop these things and we are going to do that,” he said.
Meanwhile, legal practitioner Michael Kpebu has described the sanctions under the law as ridiculous and draconian. In his view, the sanctions are too strict and unreasonable to be satisfied by the average Ghanaian.