The Global Union of Ghana Scholars (GUGS), has applauded the Government for efforts it is making to provide for Ghanaian students in the Wuhan city of China, but says it should begin the process of evacuating them.

Majority of the about 200 students have expressed their desire to be immediately returned home to save them of the anguish and psychological trauma over fear of contracting of COVID – 19 (coronavirus disease), first identified in Wuhan in the Province of Hubei.

Making the call through the Ghana News Agency, in Accra, on Monday Dr Julius Dzah, the Vice President of the Union said:“We are not contesting the advice of the experts’ against rushing to evacuate them as cited by the Government; neither are we compelling the Government to bring them back home immediately.

“Our appeal is that the State must fast-track the requisite process to bring them home just as some members of the World Health Organisation (WHO), has done for their citizens.

“We know that none of them has the disease now and when they go strictly through the international pre-movement, during and post movement protocols they won’t pose a risk to us when they return”.

The traumatised students, whose utmost concern was the fear of unknown, he said, were willing to be quarantined upon arrival and go through the mandatory tests before their release to go home.

Dr Dzah said although the governments of Ghana and China were doing their best to provide them with basic supplies for their sustenance, the lockdown in the epicentre of the viral disease had made it difficult for them to fully access them.

“We know the Government has sent some money to them and our constant engagements with Mr Edward Boateng, Ghana’s Ambassador to China, indicate that the Government is doing its part to ensure their upkeep,” he stated.

“However, some of the students are going through difficulties because of some pre-medical conditions or suffering from a cultural shock. Therefore, the restrictive conditions are compounding their problems”.

“Additionally, there is a report of a massive shortage of preventive medical apparatus for protection, such as prescribed facemasks and sanitisers”.

To alleviate their plight, the Union urged stakeholders to donate to the 75,000 dollar fund it had launched to cater for the welfare of students scholars and academics.

The Union last week launched the initiative to mobilise logistics, especially facemasks. It has mobilised 2000 facemasks already.

“Please donate through: Barclays Bank UK Branch: Argyle Street Barclays; Glasgow Account Name: Global Union of Ghanaian Scholars IBAN: GB21 BUKB 20292420250481/Swift Code: BUKBGB22 / Account Number: 20250481/Short Code: 202924,” he said.

Dr Dzah was accompanied by Dr Nicholas Ajabatey, a former Vice President of the National Union of Ghana Students in China and Mr Kwesi Mensah, a former President of the Ghanaian Students in Korea and Associates.

They urged citizens, especially the students, not to politicised the issues since that would not provide solutions.

The students should also allow only their leaders to talk to the media to avoid impersonation and mischief.

Meanwhile, they should take advantage of the services of the clinical psychologist and other counsellors available.

The Ministry of Health, with the Ghana Health Service, has said it was monitoring the situation and was in constant engagement with the WHO and regional health bodies.

It would recommend the evacuation of the students should it become imperative, it said.

The WHO at its Monday February 17 briefing in Geneva, Switzerland, said, as of 0500 hours GMT, China had reported 70,635 cases of COVID-19 to global health body, including 1772 deaths.

“In the past 24 hours China has reported 2051 new cases, which includes both clinically-confirmed and lab-confirmed cases,” it said.

“Ninety-four per cent of new cases continue to come from Hubei province. Outside China, WHO has received reports of 694 cases from 25 countries, and three deaths.

“As more data comes in from China, we’re starting to get a clearer picture of the outbreak, how it’s developing and where it could be headed. Today China has published a paper with detailed data on more than 44,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19”.

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