The Chinese Embassy in Ghana has again assured the country, Ghanaian students caught up in the lock-down in Wuhan, China and their parents that it is safer for the students to be in China at the moment.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday, the Chinese Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Shi Ting Wang, said some countries that evacuated their nationals also carried home the coronavirus (COVID-19), supporting expert advice that evacuation was not the best option.
He said China understood and appreciated the concerns of the students and their relatives, saying it was normal and intelligible for the Ghanaian students in Wuhan and their parents to request for evacuation.
“However, the facts have demonstrated that it is safer for foreigners to stay in China and abide by the COVID-19 prevention measures of the Chinese government because the long distance international travel will highly increase the risks of infection,” he said.
The ambassador said China would not relent on its pledge to ensure the sufficient supply of necessities to foreign students and gave an assurance that the Ghanaian students were in good hands.
It is estimated that about 400 Ghanaian students are caught up in the lock-down of the Chinese city of Wuhan in the Hubei Province due to the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Mr Wang said impressions that Ghanaian students in the Hubei Province and Wuhan were starving and had insufficient water were mere rumours that were not true.
He said international students, including those from Ghana, caught up in the COVID-19 stricken areas of China were the topmost priority, not only to their governments but also the Chinese government.
He said like local stakeholders, such as the Ghana government and the parents of the students, he was also following closely the development of the epidemic on a daily basis, while paying close attention to the status and needs of the Ghanaian students.
“As far as I know, every university in Wuhan has set up special working teams to take care of foreign students, including Ghanaian students. University supermarkets have adequate supplies on food and necessities,” he said.
He explained that foreign students could also buy food whenever they needed from supermarkets online, while the universities also distributed free three-course meals a day, in addition to free masks, thermometers, disinfectants and other materials to foreign students.
Mr Wang said the universities also helped foreign students to buy their necessities daily.
“I would also like to take the opportunity to say that the government of Ghana, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, the Ministry of Health and Ghana’s Embassy in China have also done a commendable job in terms of assisting Ghanaian students in China.
“Your government has sent money and food and others to the students and your embassy has kept a close eye on the students and are linking up with relevant authorities in China to make sure everyone is safe,” he said.
He said the universities carried out routine inspections and monitoring of the temperatures of students.
“The Chinese municipal government has published a 24-hour English-speaking service hotline for the foreigners, including the Ghanaian students.
If any student feels unwell, the local government will respond immediately and arrange the student for medical treatment in time,” he added.
Mr Wang said the safety measures had ensured that no Ghanaian student had been infected and China would do its best to ensure they were not.
He said since the outbreak, the Chinese government and psychotherapy professionals had implemented rapid and comprehensive public health emergency interventions on counselling students to help deal with their fears.
“The Foreign Office of the Hubei Province publishes the latest updates on the epidemic in foreign languages, such as English and French, to enable the students know what is happening outside.
“We have also set up a 24-hour counselling hotline for the students to relieve their anxiety and panic. Most of the Ghanaian students in Wuhan are in good health and stable mood,” he said.
Mr Wang said although the situation was still serious, China had also seen positive changes in general in recent times.
“In China, the number of newly confirmed and suspected cases has been declining continuously. The death toll remains low and the cure rate has been rising significantly,” he said.
The Ambassador said the number of confirmed cases in China each day had dropped from 3,887 on February 4 to 394 on February 19, 2020, while the number of newly confirmed cases in provinces, except Hubei, had reduced from 890 on February 3 to 45 on February 19, this year.