Coronavirus: Ghana suspends consular services to Italy

Ghana has suspended its consular services to Italy following the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus in that country.

A statement from the Embassy of Ghana in Italy indicated the ban is until further notice.

“The Embassy of the Republic of Ghana regrets to inform that due to the outbreak of the corona outbreak of the coronavirus in Italy, consular services to the general public will be suspended with immediate effect and until further notice. The embassy regrets any inconvenience that this may cause,” the statement said.

Italy has recorded over 300 cases of the disease and 11 deaths.

The European nation has put some cities and towns on lockdown in this regard with 11 towns being in Lombardy and Veneto.

Although there have been calls for evacuation of Ghanaians in some of the affected countries, government says it would only do so when the need arises.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation in an assessment report as of Friday, February 14, 2020, indicated that although government has committed GH¢2.5 million for any occurrence of the disease in Ghana, the amount is inadequate.

According to the report, Ghana’s total budget for COVID-19 preparedness stands at GH¢35million.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the Coronavirus disease a global health emergency and has warned countries to prepare for a possible pandemic.

Meanwhile, the WHO’s Executive Director Dr Michael J Ryan says no individual country is to blame for the outbreak.

“It’s really important that our rhetoric and narrative is balanced” said Dr Ryan, adding that China was not responsible for coronavirus, just as the Democratic Republic of Congo was not responsible for Ebola.

He said stigma “had become part of the global narrative, which is unhelpful”.

The death toll from the novel coronavirus is now more than 2,700 worldwide, with the majority being in mainland China.

There have been more than 80,000 global cases.