A Foreign Affairs briefing made available to Dailymailgh.com said the Ministry has: “Granted approval for the Ghana Mission in Beijing to expend an amount of ¥100,000 (USD$14,286.00) to cater for emergency needs, such as provision of nose masks, hand sanitizers and food, especially for Ghanaians in Wuhan and its environs.”
“Additional amounts of US$50,000.00 and US$200,000.00 have been transferred separately to the Mission in Beijing to cater for the emergency needs of the students. The Mission is working with the student leadership in Wuhan to collate the names and bank details of beneficiary students. The accounts of students are expected to be credited by Wednesday, 20th February, 2020.”
Below is the full briefing:
BRIEF ON OUTBREAK OF NOVEL CORONAVIRUS (COVID 19) IN CHINA
The Coronavirus (now named COVID 19) was reported to have started from a seafood market in Wuhan in the Hubei Province of China. As of Monday, 17th February, 2020, the National Health Commission of China reported that 2,048 new confirmed infections had been recorded. It noted that of those new cases, 1,933 were from Hubei Province, thereby bringing the total number of infected people across China to 70,548. It further reported that at least 100 of the newly infected people died in Hubei Province. The national death toll currently stood at 1,770.
2. The virus has spread to 27 countries and territories and infected 500 people outside mainland China, with only four (4) deaths reported in the Philippines, Hong Kong, France and Japan. Egypt recorded the first confirmed case of the virus in Africa on 14th February, 2020.
3. In its bid to contain the virus from spreading, the Chinese Government has put in place some stringent measures, including the lockdown of Wuhan and its environs in the Hubei Province. Inter and intra provincial transportation has also been limited and passengers at the train stations are being screened. The Spring Festival holidays were been extended, with the possibility of further extension. The re-opening date for all levels of education have been postponed, in some cases, indefinitely. Furthermore, China has banned the trade in wild animals. Workers of nose mask companies have been recalled from their Spring Festival holidays to address shortages of the nose masks, two additional hospitals, with a total of 2,300 bed built within a week and the deployment of thousands of military and medical staff to the epicenter, Wuhan, to offer their services.
4. The Director–General World Health Organisation (WHO) visited China on Wednesday, 29th January, 2020, to assess the situation. He commended the Chinese authorities for the effective manner in which they were handling the outbreak and admonished other countries for hastily calling for the evacuation of their nationals. That notwithstanding, the United States of America, Russia, France, among other countries have either evacuated or announced plans to commence the evacuation of their nationals from Wuhan.
What the Ministry of Health has done so far
5. On 21st January, 2020, the Ministry of Health issued a press release informing the public of the outbreak and providing preventive guidance information on the disease. Additionally, it:
- put on high alert, the country’s Public Health Emergency Management Structures at national, regional and district levels;
- directed the enhancement of surveillance at all ports of entry, especially at the Kotoka International Airport;
- enhanced screening procedures of passengers from China
- designated the Ridge and Tema General Hospitals, among the regional and district hospitals, as referral hospitals for suspected coronavirus case;
- informed that there was in-country capacity to diagnose the disease through testing of samples at Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR).
6. A National Technical Coordination Committee, with experts from various health and security agencies, has been formed to assess the situation. The experts are from the Ministry of Health (MOH), Ghana Health Service, the WHO, Veterinary Services Department, Immigration Service, Security Agencies, and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. The Committee has assessed the country’s state of preparedness and it is advising Government on how to handle a possible outbreak of the virus.
What the Embassy of Ghana in Beijing has done so far
7. There are an estimated 30,000 Ghanaians across China, out of which there are close to 8,000 students. The Embassy of Ghana in Beijing is in touch with them through their leadership.
8. There are about 320 Ghanaians studying in Wuhan, but about 151 have been caught up in the lockdown of the city. Mission has contacted them and has, in conjunction with NUGS-China, provided them with basic items, such as nose masks, hand sanitizers and some groceries. Mission has also contacted the Wuhan Foreign Office and some universities, and they have promised to assist our students procure groceries and other essential items.
9. The Mission has also held several interactive sessions on social media and has its officers on the various social media platforms of the students to provide them with timely responses.
10. The Ghana Embassy in Beijing has recommended the closure of its visa section to the public so as not to expose its staff to the risk of contracting the virus. However, all its officers have been deployed to provide timely consular assistance to the Ghanaian community and have published dedicated numbers to address issues related to the outbreak whilst its website is frequently updated.
What the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration has done so far
11. The Foreign Ministry is seized with the situation and is working around the clock to address the problem and to ensure the safety and comfort of Ghanaians resident in China. It has so far taken the following actions:
- issued a statement on the outbreak with the aim of calming and assuring parents and loved ones in Ghana about the safety and wellbeing of their relations in China, whilst constantly updating them on efforts underway to manage the situation;
- held meetings with the Chinese Ambassador to Ghana and has received further assurances from him that both the Central and Provincial Governments have stepped up efforts to ensure that the concerns of Ghanaian students in Wuhan are addressed in an expeditious manner;
- granted approval for the Ghana Mission in Beijing to expend an amount of ¥100,000 (USD$14,286.00) to cater for emergency needs, such as provision of nose masks, hand sanitizers and food, especially for Ghanaians in Wuhan and its environs. Additional amounts of US$50,000.00 and US$200,000.00 have been transferred separately to the Mission in Beijing to cater for the emergency needs of the students. The Mission is working with the student leadership in Wuhan to collate the names and bank details of beneficiary students. The accounts of students are expected to be credited by Wednesday, 20th February, 2020;
- dispatched cartons of assorted Ghanaian food items to the Mission in Beijing for onward delivery to the students in Wuhan; and
- continuous monitoring of the situation in conjunction with the Ghana Mission in Beijing.
ASIA AND PACIFIC BUREAU FEBRUARY 2020
Source: Daily Mail GH