Patricia Zoer is the owner of Moon&Star guesthouse in Ashanti, near Kumasi. It is a guesthouse with a social mission and is strongly committed to sustainable tourism with no negative impact on the local community. She has two children, aged four and five. She also feels the impact of the Coronavirus. This is part of her story.

May 9, 2020

On March 12th, the first Corona Fall was announced in Ghana. Not long after that, the borders were closed, and compulsory quarantine was imposed on all travelers who closed in the last days before the borders. All these people have been tested and the government has started extensive tracking and testing. More than 100,000 tests have been carried out.

There was some delay in processing these tests, so the numbers go up two or three times a week. In addition, the general advice was stay at home. Large groups were not allowed to gather, and schools and churches were closed. This was from the same moment as the schools in the Netherlands closed. Quite soon Ghana got a partial lockdown, especially in and around the cities of Accra and Kumasi. Every Sunday evening, the president gave a speech announcing new measures.

After 3 weeks of partial lockdown, the lockdown was lifted. Everyone was very surprised that this was lifted while the cases went up. The masks became compulsory and all other measures are still in place. Also, public transport is only allowed to carry half of the passengers as usual.

Patricia lives in a small village and the virus has not yet been detected there. In the whole of Ashanti there are about 200 cases now. During the lockdown it came close (about 15 km from the village) and the army had locked that place up very quickly, so they could do the tracing and extensive testing. Patricia was very impressed by this.

Since the schools have closed, Patricia and her children have been voluntarily quarantined. Initially because she still had guests who could have carried the virus. Also, because she noticed that it was better for white people to stay inside. When the partial lockdown almost started, another Dutch one came to Moon&Star and since then they have been sitting safely in their 'bubble'. The people in the village don't play by the rules very well. There's often something like oooo but that's my friend so he can't have it... Masks are worn by about a third of the people in the village. When they go to the bigger places, they have to wear masks.

Patricia doesn't want to put herself and her children in danger. This disease has claimed the lives of a number of people she knows in the Netherlands and she knows that her family and friends are very worried. The virus has an effect on Patricia. The guesthouse is closed. It may be open, but the operational costs are too high for the small number of guests who can stay there now. Besides, they're at home themselves. She still feels a lot of resistance against learning to live with this disease, wearing the masks and doing everything as before.

Last Sunday (May 2, 2020) there was no speech by the president. Tomorrow he will address the country. Last week the government is convincing the population that Ghana is over the peak. While the numbers are still going up and the graphs used by the government to convince them are not really correct, Patricia says.

Until yesterday they thought that the president is going to open the churches and schools again. She notices quite a lot of resistance against that. She has resistance as well. The economy is slowly getting back on its feet now, so why not wait to open the churches and schools. Yesterday Ghana even made the news in the Netherlands. The numbers have risen from over 900 cases to over 4000. She is very curious about tomorrow's speech.

May 13, 2020

The president has indicated that the lockdown has been lifted because the measures have done their job. In addition, there are many day laborers and street sellers in the cities who ran out of money and are starving. Food was distributed, but this was not enough.

Patricia's friends with some nurses. They indicate that people with Corona complaints do not dare to go to the hospital because they are afraid of the test. They are also afraid of stigmatization. People who don't have virus-related symptoms don't dare to go to hospital either, because they are afraid of getting the virus. On Sunday there was again a huge increase in cases so all measures as there were still in force.

Patricia's guesthouse is still closed. They may be open, but because of the high operational costs she has written to all authorities that she will stay closed until the end of August. Should there be a positive dispute, she will open sooner. For the time being, they can still carry it out. But more than half of the team is now unemployed at home. They have to get used to the new now, while so much is still unclear (Zoer, 2020).

Zoer, P. (2020, April). Impact COVID-19 on your personal life. (A. Engberink, E. Gnodde, & W. Wonder, Interviewers)

International Aid & Development - COVID-19
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