Accra, May 23, GNA - Two hundred and forty-one (241) Ghanaian deportees on board a Kuwait Aircraft arrived at the Kotoka International Airport on Saturday from the Gulf State.
Also onboard the flight were 43 Togolese nationals enroute to their home country.
The Ghanaian deportees were welcomed on arrival by Mr Joseph Kofi Adda, the Minister of Aviation, Mr Charles Owiredu, a Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Mr Henry Quartey, Deputy Minister of National Security, and Mr Dickson Osei Bonsu, Chief Legal Advisor of Operation COVID-19 Safety Committee.
They were taken through arrival procedures by officials of the Ghana Immigration Service and screened by health personnel.
They would undergo a 14-day mandatory quarantine at designated hotels under heavy security.
The decision to accept the deportees into the Ghanaian jurisdiction despite the closure of the country's borders was reached at a Cabinet meeting on Thursday, May 21.
This follows weeks of bilateral discussions between the governments of Ghana and Kuwait.
Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, on Friday, May 22, told journalists that the Government of Kuwait informed Ghana’s Government of its intention to deport some 245 Ghanaians who were illegally living in the Gulf State.
Subsequently, Government granted a special permit for the admission of the said deportees to Ghana in line with immigration and health regulations to prevent a threat to the Ghanaian population.
He said the deportation was to be executed via a special charter flight and the Kuwaiti Government would bear the cost.
The deportation comes at a time when the country’s borders remain closed to human travel as part of international travel restrictions under Ghana’s COVID-19 Response Programme to prevent the importation of the disease.
The trip, he said, was in line with exemptions granted for special evacuation of foreign nationals during the border closure period.
The Minister said the deportees would be mandatorily quarantined and tested for COVID-19 immediately they arrived in the country.
He said those who may test positive would be supported with treatment and those who would test negative would still be in quarantine for 14 days for a second test and would be released based on the results.
They would be under the custody of the State for preliminary investigations on the circumstances of their illegal stay in Kuwait.
Upon completion of the investigations, a case by case determination would be made on the status and further handling of each deportee in accordance with the law.
The Minister indicated that the cost of quarantine and treatment would be borne by the Government of Ghana.
The National Security Secretariat, in collaboration with the Military, Ghana Immigration Service and the Police Service would be responsible for ensuring the mandatory quarantine is adequately enforced.
The Ghana Health Service would be responsible for testing and treatment if it becomes necessary, the Minister said.
Mr Oppong Nkrumah assured the public that government had instituted measures to safeguard the health of the Ghanaian population in compliance with the COVID-19 Response Programme.