Some students mainly from the Keta Business School and some other Senior High Schools in the Volta Region who reside in Togo have been left stranded at the Togo-Aflao border due to the closure of the border in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.
President Nana Akufo-Addo in a national address on Saturday, March 21, declared the closure of the country’s borders for two weeks as an added measure in Ghana’s bid to control the Coronavirus pandemic.
He, however, stated that the border closure “will not apply to goods, supplies and cargo.”
Some of the stranded students who are final years students of the various schools in the Volta Region speaking to the media at Aflao said, “We’ve been here since morning. We were at school and they broke the news to us that we should go home. So we packed our things and got to the border and we are being told not to cross. We’ve been pleading with them but they don’t want to open it. Now we don’t know what to do. We are hungry and just roaming.”
Another student said, “When we came, the border was closed to everyone. We waited with the mindset that they’ll open the border for us. So as we were waiting, a vehicle came to hit one of the gates and the officers told us to move backwards. Right now we can’t go back to campus because by now, I’m sure our house parents have returned back to their houses. So there’ll be no one to take care of us.”
Currently, the novel coronavirus cases recorded in Ghana are 24.
New travel protocols
Ghana announced new travel protocols when the detected cases of COVID-19 stood at seven.
Travellers who had been in coronavirus-hit countries with cases exceeding 200 within the 14 days preceding their arrival were to be barred from entering the country.
The admissible travellers who exhibit symptoms of the novel coronavirus were to be quarantined and tested upon reaching Ghana.
The government said airlines had been instructed not to allow such persons into the country.
It also said travel to Ghana was strongly discouraged.
But in the address on Saturday, the President announced that all travellers who will be arriving in Ghana will be quarantined mandatorily, regardless of nationality.
“Everyone who comes into the country before Sunday will be mandatorily quarantined and tested for the virus,” he said.
Following restrictions from recent travel protocols, the only admissible travellers into Ghana were Ghanaians and foreign nationals with residence permits in Ghana.
Calls for border closure
The OneGhana Movement, a civil society group, had earlier asked the government to close the country’s borders in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
It also demanded that all flights from foreign counties should be cancelled for the next 30 days “except for returning Ghanaians and essential UN workers or nCOVID-19 medical support missions.”
In a statement, the group said the interventions made by the government to reduce travels into the country had among others, “been rendered lukewarm in light of the global prognosis of the pandemic and the likely impact on Africa in the coming days and weeks”.