Airlifting of Ghanaians stranded abroad 1,056 Home, 603 coming

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A total of 1,659 Ghanaians stranded abroad following the closure of borders due to the COVID-19 pandemic are being evacuated back home under special arrangements.

4 Categories of evacuees

The four categories of evacuees are those with the ability to pay, government-funded evacuation, distressed or destitute, and deportees. The evacuation is in three phases.

PHASE ONE

230 Arrived from Kuwait Out of the 1,659 Ghanaians stranded abroad, 230 arrived from Kuwait on May 23, 2020 as part of the first phase.

35 Kuwait evacuees test positive

All of them underwent the 14-day mandatory quarantine, of which 35 tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

PHASE TWO

24 Arrived from Nigeria

From Nigeria, 24 have been successfully evacuated and are under quarantine. The evacuation in Nigeria, which was in two batches, was on June 4 and 17, 2020.

The number of returnees who came on both days is seven and 17. This forms part of phase two.

41 Arrive from United States

On June 6, 2020, 41 students who were on an exchange programme in Washington DC returned from the United States (US) and are also being kept at an isolation centre.

19 Mine workers arrive

Nineteen Ghanaian mine workers were received in Ghana on June 6 and 9, 2020. 14 Miners evacuated from Burkina Faso Another 14 miners were also evacuated from Burkina Faso and are in quarantine.

25 Arrive from China

A total of 24 Ghanaian deportees and one student from China were received on June 8, 2020.

45 Arrive from Israel

A total of 45 workers from Israel also returned on June 12, 2020 and are all in quarantine. 8 Arrive from Egypt and South Africa The government also took advantage of the chartered flights by South Africa and Egypt meant to evacuate their stranded nationals from Ghana to evacuate eight Ghanaians.

The evacuees were three and five from South Africa and Egypt respectively.

THIRD PHASE

254 Arrive from Dubai The third phase began on June 12, 2020 with the arrival of the first batch of 254 stranded Ghanaians from Dubai.

141 Arrive from Benin

In addition, 141 students who have completed their French language proficiency course in Benin Republic were evacuated on June 13, 2020 by road and are in quarantine.

255 Arrive from United Arab Emirates

Two hundred and fifty-five stranded Ghanaians were also expected to be received yesterday from the United Arab Emirates.

The following assisted evacuations are also in the pipeline from today, June 17, to June 21, 2020.

400 Coming home

Over 400 Ghanaians will be coming home in this batch.

13 To arrive from Burkina Faso

On June 19, 2020, 13 Ghanaians from Burkina Faso will also arrive in Ghana.

195 To arrive from Lebanon

The Foreign Ministry is looking forward to bringing back a total of 195 Ghanaians from Lebanon on June 19, 2020.

Speaking to the media at a press briefing, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway indicated that government was planning evacuations for Ghanaians within the continental Europe area, adding that “discussions are ongoing to bring Ghanaians from other parts of Africa.”

According to her, government would be evacuating Ghanaians from New York, Washington DC and Guangzhou at the end of June. She further said the President was committed to bringing back stranded Ghanaians successfully. “Our decision to bring them back is based on data from our missions.”

Talking about the challenges of housing these returnees, the Minister mentioned that the high cost of hotels was a major setback for the taskforce.

However, Madam Ayorkor Botchway added that government was looking forward to giving returnees some respite, noting that

“we are trying to find ways of cutting down hotel cost because it is quite substantial.”

On the issue of inadequate quarantine centres, she bemoaned that “it is difficult for the taskforce to get hotels that are willing to use their facilities as quarantine centres.

We’re not interested in small hotels because they don’t have the logistics. Security services being sent to those hotels too would be a problem, hence we’re interested in big hotels that accommodate and cater for large numbers.”

The Minister stated that evacuation of stranded Ghanaians from various countries would be done at central points.

“We’re looking at doing central point evacuation from every country because it’ll be difficult for us to organise people from state to state for evacuation. In US, for instance, the central points are New York and Washington DC, so those who want to come back will go to either of these states and catch a direct

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