Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, has met with Executives of the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) to discuss the outbreak of the coronavirus in China.
During the meeting, the minister and the executives discussed the safety of Ghanaian students resident in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak.
Madam Ayorkor Botchwey seized the opportunity to inform NUGS leadership that the Ghana Mission in Beijing has been holding regular meetings (every 48hrs) with the student leadership to respond to concerns raised by them for possible redress.
She also briefed them that the Ministry has also held meetings with the Chinese Ambassador to Ghana and has received assurances from the Ambassador that the Central and Provincial Governments of China as well as authorities of the Universities in Wuhan would continue to stepped up efforts to ensure that the concerns of Ghanaian students in Wuhan are addressed in an expeditious manner.
According to her, the Ministry has granted approval for the Ghana Mission in Beijing to expend an amount of ¥100,000 (USD$14,286) to cater for emergency needs, such as provision of nose masks, hand sanitizers and food items, especially for Ghanaians in Wuhan and its environs.
She explained that an additional amounts of US$50,000.00 and US$200,000.00 have been transferred separately to the Mission in Beijing to cater for the emergency needs of the students.
“The Mission is working with the student leadership in Wuhan to collate the names and bank details of beneficiary students,” she said.
“The accounts of students are expected to be credited by Wednesday, 20th February, 2020,” according to her.
The Ministry, she said, has also dispatched cartons of assorted Ghanaian food items to the Mission in Beijing for onward delivery to the students in Wuhan.
On evacuation of the students from Wuhan, she acknowledged the general apprehension among parents in Ghana, whose children are in Wuhan as well as among a section of the Ghanaian community, mainly students in Wuhan and sympathised with the difficult situation faced by the students who have unfortunately been caught up in the lockdown of Wuhan.
But she assured them of the importance Government of the Republic of Ghana attaches to safeguarding the health, safety and wellbeing of Ghanaian nationals in China, particularly those in Wuhan.
The Minister informed them that a National Technical Coordination Committee, with experts from various health and security agencies, including Ministry of Health (MOH), Ghana Health Service, the WHO, and security agencies, has been formed to assess the countrys state of preparedness and is advising Government on how to handle a possible outbreak of the virus.
Again, she said that the experts on the National Technical Coordination Committee who are keenly monitoring the situation have advised that evacuation of Ghanaian students would be undertaken only as a measure of last resort.