Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, has reiterated Government’s commitment to assist and bring home Ghanaians stranded outside the country because of COVID-19.
She said the Government decided to assist in the evacuation of Ghanaians stranded abroad owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Foreign Minister said the decision was taken to begin the process of bringing Ghanaians home following the alert from the World Health Organisation (WHO) that COVID-19 was most likely to remain a global public health issue until a vaccine was developed.
Madam Ayorkor Botchwey stated at the meet the press series, which was organised by the Ministry of Information to give an update on the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Minister explained that under phase one of the evacuation exercise, Ghana received 230 or so returnees from Kuwait on May 23rd.
She said phase two evacuation, which comprised privately arranged chartered flights had started. Two evacuations were from Nigeria on June 4th and 11th, which brought in seven and 70 returnees respectively; who were currently undergoing their 14 day mandatory quarantine.
She said there was another evacuation on June 6th from Washington DC of 41 students who were on an exchange programme in the United States.
She said that this evacuation was financed by the State Department of the United States; and that the returnees were also under quarantine.
“We have also received on the June 6th and 9th a total of 19 Ghanaian mine workers and they were also in a hotel under quarantine.
Another 14 Ghanaian mine workers were evacuated from Burkina Faso on June 6th, and are also in quarantine,” she said.
The Foreign Minister recounted that on June 8th and 24 Ghanaian deportees and one student were received from China and were currently undergoing the 14-day mandatory quarantine as well.
She said in addition, 45 Ghanaian workers from Israel, who were also received on the June 12th, were also under quarantine.
Madam Ayorkor Boctwey said the Ministry took advantage of chartered flights arrangements of Egypt and South Africa to evacuate their stranded nationals in Ghana.
She noted that as South African and the Egyptian Governments were bringing flights to evacuate their nationals from Ghana; for South Africa, they able to bring in three Ghanaians and for Egypt five Ghanaians.
She intimated that all the evacuations were successfully executed.
The Minster said the third phase of the evacuation exercise begun on the June 12th, with the arrival of the first batch of 254 stranded Ghanaians from Dubai.
She said in addition, 141 students who completed their French language proficiency course in Benin were evacuated on Saturday, June 13th; declaring that they came in by STC Buses and were undergoing the 14-day mandatory quarantine.
Madam Ayorkor Botchwey said the second batch of 250 stranded Ghanaian from the United Arabs Emirates are expected today June 16th.
She noted that other assisted evacuation exercises were also in the pipeline on Wednesday, June 17 and Sunday, June 21st, for which over 400 Ghanaians would be coming back home.
She said on June 19th, the ministry was expecting 13 Ghanaians from Burkina Faso, who would arrive by road.
She said the Government was looking forward to bringing back Ghanaians totaling about 195 from Lebanon on June 19th.
The Foreign Minister said they would be evacuating Ghanaians towards the end of the month from New York and Washington DC in the United States and from Guangzhou in China.
“We are also planning evacuations for Ghanaian within the continental Europe area. Discussions have also started to bring back home Ghanaians in other parts of Africa,” Madam Ayorkor Botchwey stated.