Stranded Ghanaians in the United Kingdom (UK) who are ready to bear the cost of their flight home will be given consular assistance by Ghana’s High Commission in London to do so.
Interested Ghanaians in the UK who want to return to Ghana were asked to submit their details to the Ghana High Commission by the close of yesterday, Wednesday, May 13.
The High Commission, in a press release issued in London last Tuesday, said the intervention was as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic which had led to the closure of international borders.
Many Ghanaians who travelled outside the country for various reasons have been unable to return home as a result of international travel restrictions in the wake of the spread of the coronavirus disease.
Collation of names
The statement said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration was gathering information on Ghanaians stranded abroad.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration is collating information on all Ghanaians and legal permanent residents who are stranded abroad as a result of the closure of international borders in containment of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“To this end, eligible nationals who are prepared to pay for their cost of travel to Ghana must submit their details to the Ghana High Commission [London] not later than the close of day on Wednesday, 13th May, 2020,” it said.
The details interested Ghanaians were to submit were name and copy of biodata page of passport, current location, telephone contacts, WhatsApp number, email address, date of travel from Ghana, original date of expected return to Ghana, copy of return ticket, reasons for inability to return home and confirmation of ability to pay for arranged air ticket.
Calls for evacuation
The development comes on the back of calls for the government to repatriate Ghanaians stuck abroad due to the pandemic.
The Minority Leader, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, at a press conference on May 7, 2020, called on the government to evacuate Ghanaians stranded abroad.
“Many other countries are evacuating their citizens. India has done it, South Africa has done so and the UK has done it. It is our [Minority] considered view that just as our government is able to open our airports, despite the closure, for foreign nationals to be evacuated, the government should do same by providing a narrow opportunity under strict evacuation protocols of screening, testing and quarantining, when necessary, in order to secure the safety of Ghanaians abroad,” he said.
The Daily Graphic gathered from reliable sources that the payment of flight cost did not cut across all countries.
“This is country specific, so if in the UK our citizens who want to be airlifted home are being asked to pay for the cost, it does not mean it is the same everywhere,” a source said.
Permanent UN Mission
On May 8, 2020, Ghana’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations (UN) and the Consulate General in New York issued a statement on stranded Ghanaians in the United States.
Although the statement, which the mission said was based on a directive from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, indicated that the mission was compiling details of stranded Ghanaians in the US, it was silent on the issue of evacuation.
It only asked the stranded Ghanaians to submit their names and biodata in passports, US visa page and date of entry and state and city of residence in the US.