Minority caucus gives govt 3-day ultimatum to evacuate students from Wuhan

The Minority in Parliament has given the government a three-day ultimatum to evacuate Ghanaian students from Wuhan, the epicenter of the deadly novel Chinese Coronavirus. 

Failure by the government to do this would force the caucus to trigger other legal means to have the students evacuated, the opposition lawmakers have hinted. 

There are growing calls for the 300 Ghanaian students studying in Wuhan to be evacuated as the virus which has killed more than 1000 people, mostly in China, continue to spread. 

Though the government has hinted that it would evacuate the stranded students, 152 who have been caught up in the lockdown of the city, it said it would only do so “should the need arise.” 

But briefing the press in Accra yesterday, Ranking Member on the Foreign Affairs Committee, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa said the government was being “insensitive” to the plight of the students caught up in the health crisis. 

According to Mr Ablakwa, countries like Morroco, Egypt, Kenya, Mauritania, Seychelles, United Kingdom have evacuated their nationals and “that is the way to go.”

It is unconscionable, he said, for Ghanaian students to be left to their fate when their colleagues had been evacuated by their respective governments. 

Rebutting government’s claim that should the students be evacuated it could pose a bigger health threat to the general public, the North Tongu MP said “that does not make sense.” 

This is because flights from all parts of China continue to come to Ghana and all what is done to persons onboard those flights at the airport is some “haphazard screening and then they are left to go,” he said. 

In his view, the people who continue to come in from China also posed a health threat to entirety of the country, Mr Ablakwa noted. 

“We are not saying that evacuate the Ghanaian students and when they get here, you let them free. What we are saying is that when they get here, isolate them, quarantine them till a time that the medics advise that they are safe to integrated into society,” he clarified.

He said by not evacuating the stranded students, there was one message that government was sending across and that message was that “we don’t care about our children.”

He said should the government fail to heed to their demands, constitutional actions like Parliamentary questions and censures would be triggered to have the students evacuated.

The China Coronavirus, first detected on December 31, 2019 in Wuhan, Wubei Province, has affected more than 40,000 people, according to the World Health Organisation which had earlier declared the virus a global emergency.

Now in every Chinese province, the virus has spread to about 26 countries including Canada, USA, UK, Japan, France, Malaysia, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea among others. 

BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI 

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