The decision not to evacuate Ghanaian citizens from Wuhan in China, the epicenter of the novel Coronavirus disease [COVID-19] may have been beneficial as compared to countries that evacuated their citizens when the disease first broke out, the Minister of Information, Mr. Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has said.
He said some countries [in North Africa, Europe and the United States of America (USA)] who evacuated their citizens from the epicenter in Wuhan have all recorded cases of the disease in their respective countries and Ghana was yet to record a case.
When the disease broke out, the Minority caucus in Parliament called on the government to immediately evacuate Ghanaians living in Wuhan and argued that various countries elsewhere were going for their citizens.
The Minority Ranking members on the Health and Foreign Affairs, Kwabena Mintah Akandoh and Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, for instance, argued that it was unfathomable that President Akufo-Addo remained quiet at the initial stages on the matter and did not heed to distress calls by Ghanaian students in Wuhan.
Admitting that they were mindful of the available World Health Organisation (WHO) protocols on evacuations, the Minority MPs insisted those protocols could be followed in the evacuation process.
Health authorities reason for not evacuating
Responding, the acting Director-General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, emphasized at a press conference that evacuating Ghanaian students in Wuhan was not advisable.
He said stakeholders in Ghana and beyond had described that move as counter-productive and insisted that China even had a better capacity than Ghana in dealing with the disease in terms of prevention, management, and treatment.
Speaking in a radio interview Thursday morning [March 12, 2020] on Accra based Citi FM, monitored by Graphic Online, Mr. Oppong Nkrumah said that the decision not to evacuate may have been beneficial.
As both the number of Coronavirus cases and deaths rise around the world, Ghana has as of now not recorded any case.
As of Wednesday, March 11, 2020, official figures from health authorities indicated that 57 suspected cases of the disease had all tested negative.
In a nationally televised address, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo announced that he had prompted the Minister of Finance to make available the cedi equivalent of US$100 million to boost Ghana’s surveillance and preparedness to handle the disease should it surface in the country.
“Our country’s two main research institutions, the Noguchi Memorial Institute and the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research, which has the capacity to investigate and confirm or otherwise suspected cases of Coronavirus infections, have been very supportive in this regard. So far, they have found that the fifty-seven (57) suspected cases, as of Wednesday, 11th March, have proved negative,” President Akufo-Addo said.
Ghana’s surrounding neighbors, Ivory Coast in the west, Burkina Faso in the north and Togo in the East have all recorded cases of the disease.
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