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At least 57 persons have been arrested at Asante/Mampong in the Ashanti Region for non-compliance with the mandatory wearing of face mask directive.

A team of officers deployed within the Municipality made the arrest as part of efforts to encourage, educate and enforce the Coronavirus safety protocols.

Asante Mampong Divisional Police Commander, Chief Superintendent Stephen Boadu said the suspects have been admitted to bail and will be arraigned before a court at Nsuta on Thursday, July 9, 2020.

“We have mounted a special operation at Asante/Mampong to ensure full compliance [of the law]. Four days ago 38 persons were arrested; 12 were females and 26 males. Yesterday, we continued and 19 persons; five females and 14 males were also arrested. We intend to put them before the court tomorrow,” the Police Chief said.

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President Akufo-Addo made the wearing of face masks mandatory, in the wake of a sharp rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in Ghana and has through an Executive Instrument asked the police and law enforcement agencies to lead its enforcement.

People who fail to wear face masks in public risk a prison sentence of four to 10 years or a fine ranging from GHS12,000 to GHS60,000, or both.

Concerns over the law
The new sanctions for not wearing face masks are contained in a new Executive Instrument (E.I. 164). But many have, however, questioned the terms and conditions under which the law and its corresponding sanctions will be applied without infringing on individual rights and liberties.

Aside from the perceived harshness of the law, concerns have been raised about the definition of a public place and if, for example, a person should wear a mask whilst in his or her car alone.

But the government has defended the move, insisting that the current sanctions for not wearing face masks are in order to protect the ordinary Ghananaian from contracting the virus.

“There is an imposition of the Restriction Act, which has now moved to the gazetting of an Executive Instrument to make mandatory the wearing of face mask and attach the necessary sanctions to it. The imposition of the restriction Act gives room for sanctions. What we need to do is to encourage people to comply with it so we all protect ourselves”, Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has maintained.

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