Don’t bring Ghanaian students home – Chinese ambassador advises govt

The Chinese Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Shi Ting Wang, on Thursday called on Ghana not to evacuate its nationals from China as the act will increase the risk of Coronavirus (COVID-19) infection in the Country.

He said this was necessary as the long-distance international travel could possibly increase Ghana’s chances of COVID-19 infection just as the U.S. and other countries recorded after they evacuated their nationals.

Mr Wang told journalists at a News briefing in Accra on the COVID-19 outbreak that though the concerns of Ghanaian students and parents were genuine, it was safest for foreigners to stay in China and abide by the prevention measures by the Chinese government.

According to him, this is to ensure their safety until everything was over.

“It is safe for Ghanaian students to stay in China at present. The Chinese government will ensure that they have sufficient food, drinking water and other logistical support. We will also provide excellent medical service if necessary,” he stated.

He said every university in Wuhan had set up special working teams to take care of the foreign students, which included Ghanaian students.

The ambassador noted that university supermarkets have adequate supplies of food and necessities, distributed free three meals daily in addition to free masks, thermometers, disinfectants and other materials to aid foreign students.

Mr Wang revealed that the foreign office of Hubei have put in place the needed measures to ensure that no student is infected while they provide a 24-hour counselling hotline to relieve their anxiety and panic.

However, he commended the Ghanaian government on its scientific approach and timely response in the face of the epidemic, adding that they “ believe that under the joint efforts of both sides, Ghanaian students in Wuhan are safe now”.

Currently, about 151 Ghanaian students are still in Wuhan waiting for their fate to be determined by the government whether they will be brought back home or otherwise.

The number of newly confirmed cases in provinces except Hubei dropped from 890 on February 3 to 45 on February 19.

Mr WANG said as at February 19; 2,118 people had died of COVID -19 nationwide, with a mortality rate of about 2.5 per cent compared to 10 per cent for the SARS epidemic, 35 % for the MERS epidemic and about 50per cent of the Ebola epidemic and 0.6per cent in provinces except for Hubei.

He said, February 12, more than 1,000 people were cured per day and as of February 19; 1,779 people were cured, while 16,155 people were discharged from hospitals.

He said there were tens of millions of foreigners in China with half a million as foreign students and as at now only 27 foreigners were infected with COVID-19 in China and only two of them died of the virus.

Mr WANG said there was only one African student in China infected and had already been cured and discharged with no Ghanaian student infected.

He said the COVID-19 affected 25 countries with 1,051 people infected and seven deaths outside China, adding that most of the confirmed cases outside China occurred due to the evacuation of foreigners.

He noted that effective drugs were developed to help in the treatment of the disease and assured that China was confident and had the capacity, resources and determination to win against the epidemic.

Meanwhile, Ghanaians have been advised to keep practising the safety measures; proper handwashing with soap under running water, and covering of mouth when coughing or sneezing to prevent the disease.

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