The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, says Government has not ruled out the option of evacuating Ghanaian students from Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus disease.
Delivering a Message on the State of the Nation on Thursday, 20th February, 2020, President Akufo-Addo stated that through Ghana’s Embassy in China, Government has been working with the Chinese authorities to find the best way to deal with the situation.
The President told Parliament that the Ghanaian community in China includes 4,760 students, out of which 300 are studying in Hubei Province and 200 in the city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak.
“We have a difficult and delicate situation on our hands, Mr Speaker, and it does not benefit anybody to try to score points by introducing ill-judged politics into this ongoing medical conundrum and humanitarian tragedy,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo continued, “Most of these students are on Chinese government scholarships, and, since the crisis started, the Chinese government has done its best to keep them supplied with food and other logistics. The Ghana government, through its Mission, also supplies logistics, and the Embassy has given, so far, five hundred United States dollars (US$500) to each student.”
Nonetheless, the President stressed that no amount of logistics will make up for the extreme stress and trauma that the students are going through, and entreated Members of this Parliament to set an example by helping to pour oil over troubled waters, instead of instigating tension and spreading fear and panic among the young people.
“The government is in constant touch with experts on the subject, who advise that the basic principle of public health is to confine the disease to the area of its origin, but we have not ruled out the option of evacuating the students from Wuhan, if that becomes necessary,” he said.
Additionally, President Akufo-Addo told Parliament that “we have put in place measures to ensure that their evacuation back into Ghana, if it happens, does not lead to the dissemination of fear and panic amongst the general population.”
The President also sympathised with the people of China, and indicated that he has written to President Xi Jinping to convey to the government and the people of China the solidarity and sympathy of the compassionate people of Ghana.
“We trust that, with the tough decisions being implemented to curb the spread of the virus, this nightmare will be over, and, soon, they will recover from its devastating social and economic impact,” he stressed.