By Nana Moses II, Qingdao, China
The Government of Ghana (GoG) must first be commended for the compassion showed towards the citizens of Ghana living in China, precisely Wuhan where the coronavirus epidemic is highest, through the donation of about 30,000 Chinese Yuan towards their welfare. This is in line with the President’s firm belief in education and his commitment to be President of all Ghanaians throughout the world.
This is among various indications that no Ghanaian citizen is being left out in Akufo-Addo’s all-inclusive government. Notwithstanding, Ghana’s ambassadors to China should be highly rebuked for their consideration of only Ghanaian students in Wuhan for this duty-bound benevolence.
Wuhan, a city in Hubei Province, is where the first case of the new deadly coronavirus was detected. Actually, there are approximately 520 Ghanaians living in Wuhan, with 400 of them as students and the rest as workers, as of January 2020. These statistics, therefore, prove the existence of others aside Ghanaian students in Wuhan, and as a result makes it wrong for the exclusion of non-students during the sharing of the donation from the President. I was of the view that the helping hand should have been extended to all Ghanaian residents in Wuhan.
Fear and panic
Furthermore, there has been evidence of frantic creation of fear and panic by the media fraternity in Ghana, from a much exaggerated point of view of the happenings in China, with regards to the coronavirus outbreak and how Ghanaians are faring amidst the epidemic. Some of such information being circulated by the media include claims that Ghanaians in China are living in danger, having no access to food and flight, and with most of them detained/quarantined.
I think all these pieces of information are going about as result of the failure of some media houses to verify their facts.
In fact, Ghanaians in China are safe and are not being ill-treated. Actually, the Chinese Government is doing what is right in ensuring that every safety measure is taken to safeguard the life of every soul in the nation.
The truth of the matter is that the universities in China provide services for any foreign student who wants to buy food, medicine or even wants to go home, with Ghanaian students inclusive. Precisely, there are 6,000 Ghanaian students in China, as of the beginning of this academic year.
It would be highly out of order and unsecured for the Government of Ghana to evacuate all Ghanaians in China to Ghana because it takes 14 days for the coronavirus to be detected in a patient or victim.
This means a lot with the virus could be undetected at the points of screening in Ghana, and may, as a result, bring about an epidemic in the country.
In addition, Ghana currently has fragile health facilities and inadequate expertise and resources to contain, tackle and manage the virus, even if one is detected, and more so if the evacuation brings about an epidemic.
When this happens, the pressure on hospitals will be unbearable, and I appreciate what the President of Ghana has done by acting decisively on this matter.
According to the National Health Commission of China, as of the end of the first three weeks of the outbreak, from the second week of January 2020 to the first week of February 2020, there were186,354 people under medical watch, with 28,018 confirmed as having the virus, 1,153 cured and 564 dead.
A careful consideration of the entire statistics, especially between the numbers of the cured against the number of death, show that the Chinese Government was gradually gaining control over the epidemic and is better placed to contain and tackle the epidemic than Ghana.
Also, this is not the first of such epidemics in China; there were that of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003, the Swine Flu in 2009 and others which the nation successfully controlled.
As it stands now, if there is any measure the GoG wishes to put in place to help Ghanaians in China, with respect to this epidemic, then the nation should continue to send money to Ghanaians in China.
However, it should make sure that this covers every Ghanaian and not only the students. The nation, through the Ghanaian embassy in China, should put in place emergency measures that can help keep track the wellbeing of every single Ghanaian living in China.
Parents and the entire Ghanaian citizens in Ghana and around the world can also support such efforts of Government by sending their relatives and loved ones in China money to help supplement their income.