Six fishermen have been quarantined in Sekondi, after they had returned from a fishing expedition last Saturday. They are being held in a common space [classroom] [name withheld] in the capital of the Western Region, with poor accommodation and social service.
One of the fishermen laments they have since been sleeping in a ‘stuffy’ room, and with nothing to protect them from infectious mosquito bites at night.
To these fishermen, the experience of being quarantined in that facility is saddening.
“Just imagine where we sleep each night. You easily catch cold anytime you walk in there. We’ve been compelled to sleep together, irrespective of our medical condition- don’t you think any carrier of the disease can easily infect us?”, one of them cried during a phone interview with Skyy News’ Abraham Mensah.
According to them, they were screened upon arrival, and allowed to return to their homes, only to be called ta couple of hours by Regional COVID 19 Taskforce to avail themselves for quarantine procedure.
“They had already taken our samples and left us to mingle with our families. Why would you do that, if you knew we had to be quarantined first? Should we test positive for the virus, who do you blame?” they lamented.
The Risk of Exposure
The fishermen told Skyy News’ Abraham Mensah they left the shores of Sekondi some three weeks ago. They had wished to make a quick turn home if they get a good catch but luck eluded them, so they had to continue the expedition until they got to Ivory Coast.
“Things weren’t that good so we felt it was expedient we return with the little we have caught” one of them stated.
But upon a tip off, the Marine Police picked them up and detained them. The Regional COVID 19 Team were later arranged to screen these fishermen.
A response from the Local Assembly
Public Relations Officer for the Sekondi Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly, John Laste admitted that the concerns of these fishermen are legit but justified that “it was an emergency and we had to quickly mobilise and prepare a place for them”
He disclosed that the assembly had managed to get them some sanitary items including veronica buckets, soap and sanitizers to enable them maintain good hygiene. Food and other supplies are also made available to them by the assembly, he added.
Mr. Laste however assured that a befitting condition will be provided for the suspected patients (fishermen) in the course of the week.
“We’ve been working on a permanent location to manage this kind of cases. But here are a few things that we need to do before we can relocate them.
“If we are fortunate to receive their results as quickly as possible and if they are negative, they will have to be released and be monitored from their homes” he added.