The Chinese Embassy in Ghana has reassured Ghanaians of the safety of students in China following heightened concerns over their welfare.
The Embassy says the universities have put in place some measures and precautionary actions to ensure the comfort and safety of all students, including, Ghanaian students in China.
Ghanaian students, most of whom school in universities located in Hubei Province, the area where the Coronavirus first started in December 2019, have expressed their desire to be transported back to Ghana as the Coronavirus keeps spreading in China.
Parents, Minority and section of the public have backed the calls and put pressure on government to evacuate Ghanaian students from China to reduce the risk of any of them contracting the virus that has killed more than 1000 people in China, mainly Hubei Province.
But responding to such concerns, Dr. Zhou Yuehan, Spokesman of the Chinese Embassy in Ghana, says universities in China provide three square meals to all students, in addition to frequent inspections of the campuses and monitoring of every student to ensure their safety.
The Embassy’s Public Relations Officer stated, “Since the outbreak of the epidemic, the universities and foreign offices in Wuhan are making every effort to ensure that the students have sufficient access to medical care and daily necessities. First, they distribute free masks and personal sterilization equipment to students. Second, the students could get free meals just downstairs of their dormitory, including breakfast, lunch, and supper. Third, the university supermarket would deliver supplies of daily use to the dormitory as long as the students place an order online. Fourth, the universities keep doing routine inspections and monitoring temperature to every student every day. Fifth, the Chinese government has published 24-hour English speaking service hotline for the foreigners including the Ghanaian students. Sixth, if any student feels unwell, the authority would respond immediately and arrange the student for medical treatment in time.”
He says the efforts by the Chinese government is being complemented by the government of Ghana, who have been in constant touch with the students through the Embassy.
“We noticed that the Ghanaian government has released 250,000 US Dollars to assist the students to improve their well-being in this trying time. H.E. Edward Boateng, the Ghanaian Ambassador to China, has 48-hour calls with the student leadership and leaders of the Ghanaian community. And the Ghanaian Embassy has published relevant protocols and the Consular hotline. Once any Ghanaian in China is quarantined and the status of illness is yet to be confirmed as CORVID-19 or otherwise, please also contact the Consular hotline of the Embassy. The Consular hotline number are +8618612084232 and +8618612959040,” he added.
Government of Ghana has disclosed that, based on advice it received from experts and in consultation with stakeholders, it will not evacuate Ghanaians in China, particularly, students back to Ghana.
In Africa, Morocco, Algeria and other North African countries have evacuated their nationals, but the Spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy explained that the figure represents a minority of countries that have transported their nationals.
“As far as I know, only a few African countries, like Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia etc., have evacuated their citizens from Wuhan. But most of the African countries choose not to withdraw their students by following the WHO recommendations. As for now, there is no single Ghanaian people reported as confirmed case or suspected case in China,” he added.
So far, close to 60, 000 cases have been recorded and more than 1000 people have died from the Coronavirus.
The Chinese Embassy in the interview made known that just a few foreigners have been affected as the majority are Chinese nationals.
Dr. Zhou Yuehan disclosed, “There are about one million foreigners living in China. We have checked with the relevant department. As of 08:00, February 10, 27 foreign citizens in China have been diagnosed with the COVID-19. Among them, there are 7 recovered and discharged cases, two deaths and 18 cases under treatment in isolation.”