Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway addressed the press on Monday, providing evacuation updates on Ghanaian nationals abroad.
The minister outlined the phase two evacuations which mainly comprises privately arranged charter flight as well as evacuations earmarked from now to the end of 2020. Seven returnees have been received from Nigeria on the 4th and 11th of June and have been housed to undergo their 14-days mandatory quarantine.
Also forty one (41) students who were on exchange program in Washington DC have been evacuated and are on quarantine. She stated that the evacuation was financed by the state department of the United States of America.
“We have also received on the 6th and 9th of June a total of nineteen Ghanaian mine workers and they are also in a hotel under quarantine. Fourteen Ghanaian mine workers were also evacuated from Burkina Faso… they are also in quarantine. On the 8th, 24 Ghanaian deportees and one student were received from China and are undergoing quarantine as well”.
Evacuation of Ghanaians
The minister said they will be expecting some 13 Ghanaians to make their way to the country on the 19th of June by road from Burkina Faso and also 195 Ghanaians are expected from Lebanon. Evacuations from New York, Washington DC and China will be undertaken at the end of the month.
“We are also planning evacuations and we are discussing it for the Ghanaians within the Continental Europe area, they are not that many but discussions have started. Discussions have also started to bring back home Ghanaians in other parts of Africa”.
The Minister noted that the evacuation of Ghanaians abroad had been categorized into four (4) groups and mentioned the categorization as the ability to pay, Government Funded Evacuation, distressed/destitute and deportees.
Challenges with Evacuation
Ms. Botwe explained one of the major challenges they have had to deal with is the high cost of hotels which invariably poses a threat to the task force and other agencies working together.
“It is difficult for the task force to get hotels that are willing for their hotels to be used for quarantine, that is a major problem, and so the hotels that have agreed are the ones that are being used”.
She cited that, due to the limited spaces in these hotel, the conveyance of logistics and health authorities to conduct their routine checks is hampered.
“Also, security services would have to be posted at these quarantine centers or these hotels …would also be a problem. So we are always looking for larger hotels… to make it easier for us”.
“Let me conclude by reiterating that the government of Ghana is committed to successfully assisting to bring back our nationals who are stranded outside because of obvious reasons and we would continue to provide updates on evacuations as and when it becomes necessary”.