Coronavirus: Ghanaian students beg government to take them out of China –

Students in China feel abandoned by the government of Ghana

A Ghanaian student residing at the epicentre of China’s coronavirus outbreak has pleaded with the Ghanaian government to repatriate Ghanaians from the city of Wuhan.

According to him, a lot of the students from sub-Saharan countries in Wuhan, the capital of the Hubei Province – feel abandoned by their governments given that North African countries such as Morocco and Egypt have airlifted their nationals on chartered flights.

There are an estimated 4,600 African students studying in the Hubei province where Wuhan has become the ground zero for the deadly virus’ spread, according to Development Reimagined, an international development consultancy in Beijing. However, there are also other African nationals resident in the Hubei province outside the academic community.

The student who gave his name as Michael told the BBC’s Newsday Programme that he has been in touch with the Ghanaian consular authorities in China who have told him that Ghanaians would not be evacuated.

Michael said he feels abandoned by the government and does not want to become a “global statistic”.

“…I think if this continues for like two weeks or one month this will be counter-productive, it will be disastrous and I wonder if this can be maintained after the Chinese New Year ends because we are getting hopeless, we see the numbers rising, that is why we are of the opinion that our government should come to our aid and take us out of here because we don’t want to become a global statistic…,” Michael said

“Yes, I have personally been in touch with the Ambassador and the Deputy Ambassador and other officials at the Embassy. They’ve told us they are in touch with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs but then they are not going to evacuate us, we have to stay and adhere to the precautions”.

He said he was scared of the outcome, especially if China grounds all flights from the country to prevent the spread of the virus.

A number of countries have begun evacuating their diplomatic staff and citizens from parts of China hit by the coronavirus.

Reuters has compiled the evacuation plans of some and how they are planning to manage the health risk from those who are returning.

– France’s first plane to repatriate nationals from Wuhan left Paris on Wednesday and returns on Thursday. The flight will carry people with no symptoms, junior transport minister Jean-Baptiste Djebarri told television channel CNews. “These people will be put under quarantine. And then there will be a second flight, at a yet undefined date, with people showing symptoms … who will be cared for in Paris,” he said.

– South Korea had planned four flights to evacuate its citizens from Wuhan. The first had been expected to depart on Thursday morning, but China had only approved one flight, leading to a delay until later in the day, South Korea’s foreign minister said. The government wants to isolate evacuees for at least two weeks.

– A second charter flight carrying 210 Japanese nationals arrived in Tokyo on Thursday. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference that 13 of them felt unwell. The first chartered flight carrying 206 Japanese evacuees arrived on Wednesday, and three tested positive for the new virus. Two of them, however, did not show symptoms.

– Kazakhstan has asked Beijing to allow 98 Kazakh students to leave Wuhan.

– Germany will evacuate 90 citizens from the Wuhan area.

– Morocco will evacuate 100 citizens, mostly students, from the Wuhan area.

– Spain’s government is working with China and the European Union to repatriate it nationals from the Wuhan area.

– The United States evacuated 220 citizens from Wuhan including 50 diplomats and contractors.

– Britain is talking to international partners to help British and other foreign nationals leave Wuhan.

– Canada has about 167 nationals in the Wuhan area, Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said. While he did not rule out evacuations, he did not indicate there were any planned, adding that consular requests would be evaluated on a case by case basis.

– Russia has been in talks with China about evacuating its nationals from Wuhan and Hubei province.

– The Dutch government is assessing ways to evacuate 20 of its citizens from Wuhan, press agency ANP reported.

– Australia will help some citizens leave Hubei and quarantine them on Christmas Island. Prime Minister Scott Morrison did not say how many of the 600 Australians registered in the Hubei region could be helped, adding Australia would also be working to help New Zealand and Pacific island citizens in Hubei.

– New Zealand said on Thursday it would charter a plane to assist its citizens wanting to leave Wuhan. Consular teams will work with health officials to ensure the risks of transmission of the virus to New Zealand are carefully managed.

– Indonesia is preparing to evacuate its citizens from Wuhan and will quarantine them for at least 14 days on arrival to avoid contagion. Retno Marsudi said the government is working with Beijing authorities on the evacuation. She said that there were at least 243 Indonesians in areas declared to be in lockdowns, the majority of whom were in Wuhan.

The World Health Organization has now declared the outbreak in China a “public health emergency of international concern” (PHEIC). The virus has sickened more than 8,000 people and killed at least 170 as of Thursday, January 30, 2019.

Credit: Daily Graphic