General News of Friday, 14 February 2020
The China branch of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) has described North Tongu MP Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa as a “naïve” politician for pushing for the evacuation of Ghanaian students caught up in the Coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China, back home.
The Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament had advocated on his Facebook wall thus: “May it never be said of us that we have become the country renowned for waging expensive campaigns to attract largely rich and famous Africans in the diaspora through the ‘Year of Return’ and ‘Beyond the Return’ initiatives and yet cannot spend a fraction of that to evacuate our stranded compatriots in China.”
So far, countries like the US, France, Switzerland, The Philippines, Russia, Libya among others, have evacuated their nationals from China as a result of the deadly virus.
In a statement responding to the Minority MP, NPP-China said: “To suggest an evacuation of Ghanaian students in China from the epidemic zone by Hon. Ablakwa and comparing it to the evacuation of Ghanaian nationals from Libya during the fall of the Qaddafi’s regime exposes the naivety of Hon. Ablakwa. This is based on the technical and health implications of the suggested move”.
NPP-China added: “The spread of the virus across China is evident that the plausible means, as it stands now, is to restrict the movement of people. This is to avert human-to-human transmission. It is against the background of averting further spread that the Chinese government has shut down the city of Wuhan and most other cities in China.
“The fact remains that all areas in China are now classified as infested areas and citizens and foreigners are quarantined when where there are suspected cases. As of today, the total number of confirmed cases stands at 59,901 and the death toll sums up to 1,368. This is the situation at hand. The evacuation may be an option but must be done carefully to protect the evacuees and the Ghanaian public. Also, basic medical equipment like infrared thermometers that record temperature at wider ranges without contact with persons must all be available to safely protect the public.
“Given the situation and careful calculations, evacuation will be injurious to the safety of the Ghanaian students. The transmission rate keeps soaring and the best options available is for all Ghanaians and the students to observe all health and safety measures. The public are implored to discredit the propagandist stance of the NDC and keep trust with the government of Ghana under the leadership of His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo”.
Just recently, Ghana’s Ministry of Health (MoH) gave the assurance that Ghanaians living and studying in China are safe from the deadly Coronavirus and would be evacuated when it becomes necessary.
According to the MoH, no Ghanaian has been infected with the virus in China or anywhere else across the globe.
It said it was in “collaboration with the World Health Organisation, West African Health Organisation, US Centres for Disease Control and other development partners, discussing and reviewing our strategies day by day. So far, all advice through consultations and engagements is not encouraging us to undertake mass evacuation as yet because of the following:
1. Sub-regional consultation – the West African Health Organisation is engaging member states and has not recommended evacuation yet
2. Public Health principles in outbreak situations.”
The Ministry noted that notwithstanding all these, it is reviewing the situation by the hour and when it becomes necessary, it will tow the next line of action as appropriate, including evacuation.
The Ministry further said the government is much concerned about Ghanaians in China, especially the Ghanaian students, and is working to ensure their protection, safety and wellbeing.
Meanwhile, Ghanaians have been advised to delay non-essential travels to China.