“We‘re dying! Our hostels haven’t been sprayed. Some media in Ghana are not painting a true picture of what is happening to us in China. We’re dying here in China!”
These were the opening statement of Ms. Naa, a Ghanaian medical student in Hanghou, a city in China. She and her colleagues have been terrified for months indoors. They’re only waiting to either get affected by the fast-spreading virus which has claimed over 37,000 lives in China and many others in about 25 countries.
“Broken” Naa was a part of the two I had a chat with this morning (Monday, February 102020). They narrated their ordeal with raging voices. According to them, they’ve heard the government of Ghana is contemplating evacuating them. They’ve also heard some monies have been sent to their student leadership in China to purchase nose masks and other protective gears.
But all these have done nothing to clearing their fear of infection and death soon. They feel abandoned by the Chinese government despite intentional law requires proper treatment of foreign nationals. More pathetic – they feel dejected by their own government, the government of Ghana. They say they’re discriminated against in their daily strive to remain unaffected; and to worsen the situation, they continue to be trapped in their hostels as they witness many terrifying deaths around them.
Our brothers and sisters say, each day comes with a new novel coronavirus case. These cases happen right under their noses, and some next-doors. They say at the least complaint of headache or stomach ache, some students in question are picked up and sent to quarantine centers and mixed up with affected people. Despite the growing cases around them, their hostels haven’t been fumigated, but their Chinese counterparts have theirs fumigated.
Schools have been closed down in the midst of the outbreak, some will soon reopen in a fortnight’s time. Our Ghanaian siblings remain indoors unable to do anything meaningful of life. For months now, they continue to endure everything that comes with living in a stuffy, less tidy and sickening room environment. Many of them continue to pick up communicable diseases as a result. But they dare not complain to the hearing of anyone. They delete every news or chat they receive on the subject of the epidemic, there’re daily tech surveillance on them.
The cost of living of our brothers and sisters have also shot up exponentially. A menu is sent round the various rooms for them to choose what they wish to buy, at very exorbitant prices. Some have starved, others are starving. For those who have monies to eat, fear anything could be put in the food they order. Many are running out of food and money. The epidemic has curtailed their movements.
Some students who are engulfed with uncontrolled fear contact their school authorities. The response by some authorities shows the gravitas of the situation and the need for government to reconsider its decisions. For instance, a Dean of one of the universities is reported to have advised the students to go to their countries because the situation is getting out of hand, the rate at which people are dying is scary. Ghanaian students have been thrown into a shock and psychological trauma. They’ve since been reaching out to relative in Ghana and crying that they are saved.
After I told them, the hesitance on the part of government to evacuate them is due to the fear of contracting the dreaded virus in the process of evacuation, they answered in a sorrowful voice that they’d prefer to die in their beloved home (Ghana) than in a strange land which isn’t compassionate about their lives.
The lives of these Ghanaian brothers and sisters have become even more volatile in the face of allegations that Chinese government appealing to their highest court to obtain judgment to kill all affected patients. This allegation has been reported as false but the chaotic situation remains unchanged.
I am terrified myself after hearing the account of my sisters in Hangzhou. I can’t forget how teary they sounded and how hopeless they’d become because of their plights. More worrying, I haven’t read any of such accounts on the Ghanaian media.
Indeed, such a worrying issue that need urgent attention and reconsideration by the Ministry of Health, the Ghana Health Service, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the President himself. We can’t wait until we record the first black case. For me whether they’re on scholarship or not, it’s not a time for selective justice, it should worry everyone called Ghanaian.
Mr Minister, Your Excellency the President, your children in China say they want to die in Ghana and not China. And as it stands now, they are dying! Please rescue them!
I asked Miss Naa, what could be done to help them if evacuation fails, she said their hostels should be sprayed regularly, and that may only contain their cries for a while, since they feel the virus has come very close to them in their hostels.