President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has assured Ghanaians based in China that “if it becomes necessary”, they will be brought home in the face of the coronavirus outbreak.
He disclosed that he has already written to his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, to condole with him over the deadly viral diseasse.
The outbreak of the novel coronavirus has left in its trail almost 2,000 deaths with over 72,000 confirmed cases recorded.
Its epicenter is Wuhan in the Hubei Province of China. That province accommodates about 300 Ghanaian students.
Delivering the 2020 state-of-the-nation address on Thursday, February 20, President Akufo-Addo said he has already expressed the country’s solidarity and sympathy to the Chinese premiere as the Asina nation has a long-standing relation with Ghana.
“We have entered into various agreements with China, the lead one being the Sinohydro deal, to provide various infrastructure projects,” he said to a Parliament which had the Minority caucus out. Members had earlier staged a walkout.
The Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, had given the government a three-day ultimatum, which elapsed last Friday, to evacuate Ghanaian students in the face of the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus in China.
President Akufo-Addo cautioned his listeners to stop distributing fear and panic as well as tension among Ghanaians both home and in China, insisting that the situation is delicate.
He, however, assured that the students will be evacuated if need be.
“We have not ruled out the option of evacuating Ghanaian students from Wuhan due to the outbreak of Coronavirus if it becomes necessary.”
Despite giving the students – most of whom are caught up in a lockdown – stipends for subsistence, the president admitted that the move is just supplementary as it cannot replace the emotional support the students need from family and friends in Ghana.
He said the government has put in place measures to prevent any panic among Ghanaians in case the China-based compatriots are brought home.