The Minority in Parliament has urged the government to immediately evacuate back home Ghanaian students in Wuhan, the epicentre of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The Minority stated that the outbreak of the deadly viral disease had caused general panic among all nationals, causing many countries to act urgently in the best interest of their citizens.
Get Digital Versions of Graphic Publications by downloading Graphic NewsPlus Here. Also available in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store
It, therefore, questioned why the government had not shown any political will to go to the aid of the Ghanaian students who were caught up in the locked down Wuhan city in China.
“Latest by Friday, the evacuation of our Ghanaian students should take place. We must not leave our nationals behind, act recklessly, irresponsibly and insensitive to their plight,” the Minority Ranking Member on Foreign Affairs, Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, stated.
Refusing to act
Addressing the press at Parliament House yesterday, the Minority Ranking Member on Foreign Affairs warned that “if this three-day ultimatum is not adhered to, we will reconvene as a Minority caucus and announce the next action to scale up pressure to demand action from the government”.
“We are very serious about this matter because the report that we are getting indicates that the situation in China is getting out of hand,” he stated.
He was joined by the Minority Ranking Member on Health, Mr Kwabena Mintah Akandoh.
We are not reckless
Mr Ablakwa noted that the outbreak of the novel coronavirus was getting critical, to the extent that the World Health Organisation (WHO) had launched an appeal for $675 million to “be able to understand what is going to bring this outbreak under control”.
The North Tongu Member of Parliament noted that as of today, there was no confirmed case of a Ghanaian who had so far contracted the virus.
“So the fear that people are harbouring that we should not invite coronavirus into Ghana and that we in the minority are being reckless in asking that we should extend care, love and support to our nationals.
“We are not being reckless at all; it is those who are refusing to take action who are rather being reckless,” he said, adding that it was time the government intervened to evacuate stranded students back home.
According to him, things would become more risky if the government waited for there to be a confirmed case before evacuating its nationals.
Acknowledging the WHO protocols requirements for safe evacuation of nationals, Mr Ablakwa urged the government to follow such laid-down protocols to evacuate the students.
“We are saying that the same WHO protocols that African countries such as Egypt, Tunisia. Libya, Kenya, Mauritius, Mauritania and Algeria used to evacuate their citizens, we must adhere to the same protocols to bring back home our citizens.
“First, testing should be carried on Ghanaians who will be evacuated in China and we insist that they be quarantined on their arrival,” he stated.
Mr Akandoh noted that Ghana had sufficient isolation centres that served as distribution hubs during the outbreak of various viral diseases in Africa, as well as trained health professionals to handle issues of such nature.
“So, it is a matter of re-activating the system and I am convinced that we have the structures, but the government is actively refusing to activate those structures,” he said.