Some Ghanaian students studying in Wuhan in China’s Hubei province are making desperate calls on the government of Ghana to evacuate them over the outbreak of the 2019 coronavirus.
The government through the Embassy in China on Wednesday [February 12, 2020] informed the students that the country does not intend to evacuate them from the Asian country despite being held on lockdown at the epicentre of the outbreak.
But the students are making frantic efforts to get the government to reconsider its decision.
Baba Musah, one of the students who spoke to Citi News said news about the decision not to evacuate them is heartbreaking as they find themselves at the centre of the outbreak and fear the worse may happen.
“It came as heartbreaking news to us. The situation appears to be very alarming that is why we are still calling on the government to evacuate us despite the information we got from the embassy that government has no intention to evacuate us. The government should listen to our plea and cry.”
Another student, Mark Osei also said, “We are calling on the government of Ghana to evacuate us from this land. We are going through psychological and emotional torture… Our city has been on locked down for about two weeks and life has become unbearable for us.”
Mark added that an attempt to return to Ghana at their own expense is not possible as the Chinese government says it will only allow persons at the epicentre of the outbreak to leave on chartered flights.
“We decided to buy the air tickets ourselves for commercial flights to come home and when we engaged the Ghana missions to help us through the protocols, the Chinese ministry made it clear that Ghanaians will be allowed to leave Wuhan only through chartered flights by the Ghanaian government and that is the only way we can leave and that is how other governments have evacuated their citizens from Wuhan,” he said.
A former national organizer of Ghanaian students in China, Daniel Nii Lartey, in an interview on Eyewitness News on Thursday said the Ministry of Health’s decision not to evacuate students in Wuhan may be from a position of ignorance of their true state of desperation and challenges there.
According to him, the donation of money to the students there does not mean much to the students as most grocery stores are locked up and the students are unable to access various other services.
He insists that evacuating the students will be the best thing to do to safeguard their health and ensure that they are psychologically sound to pursue their studies.
The Ministry of Health said at a press conference on Thursday that the Ghanaians students in Wuhan were “protected and well secured” there but Mr. Lartey said, their comments are untrue.
“I think that they are not up to date with a lot of information…The students are so afraid. Anytime they call home they are crying out of fear… Most dormitories close to their schools have all been converted to hospitals where infected persons are being treated. That is how serious the situation is.”
More than 12 countries have evacuated their citizens from Wuhan over the outbreak, adhering to strict World Health Organization protocols for evacuation including holding the evacuees in quarantine for two weeks before reintegrating them into society.
Iran, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand, South Korea, India, Brazil among others have evacuated their citizens.
Chinese officials have within the last few days recorded over 5,000 new cases of 2019 coronavirus in Hubei Province.
Nationwide in China, 65,000 cases have been confirmed with over 1,300 deaths.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned the virus, now named COVID-19, poses a “grave threat” to the world, with chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus saying the virus could have “more powerful consequences than any terrorist action”.