The Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) has so far refused about 29 non-Ghanaian citizens entry into the country at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) and the Aflao Border in compliance with the advisory directive issued by the President last Sunday.
The 29 comprised 24 Chinese nationals, two Italian nationals, two Australian nationals and one Nigerian national.
Furthermore, flights which opted to use the KIA due to some challenges at the Abidjan Airport were refused landing following discussions with the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority.
The Deputy Comptroller-General, Operations and Command Posts, Mr Laud Ofori Afrifa disclosed this in Accra yesterday when he joined members of the cross-sectoral committee on coronavirus (COVID-19) response to update the country on their work so far.
He explained that the directive as issued by the President kick-started in earnest on Tuesday at 1pm and what had been done so far was to advise all their controls to enforce the ban strictly.
Mr Afrifa said thus far the service was admitting only foreigners coming back or returning into the country that had residence permit and even that their particulars were collected are shared with the relevant agencies to ensure effective monitoring.
He said statistics available indicated that there was a drastic drop in the number of passengers arriving in the country through the country’s airport, stressing that “For example the British Airways which used to carry about 500 passengers yesterday brought only 140 passengers.”
Similarly, the KLM, Air Portugal, Kenya Airways and the Emirate Airlines all had reduced numbers of passengers bringing in 128, 12, 66 and 174 respectively.
He explained that the directive was not only being carried out at the airports but also along all the 48 border posts across the country.
Mr Afrifa noted that out of the 29 non-Ghanaians, who had been refused entry into the country, three of them made up of a Nigerian and two Australians were refused entry from the Aflao Border Post.
He therefore called for the support of all to ensure that the outbreak did not escalate.
Outlining some steps put in place to ensure that the pandemic was contained in the country, the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Hajia Alima Mahama said following the directive issued by the President on March 15, a number of measures had been put in place by the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies.
She said all regional ministers in collaboration with their regional health service partners had been requested as a matter of urgency to set up and chair public health emergency committees.
Furthermore, the MMDCEs had been directed to chair the PHEC set up by their health directorates in their respective jurisdictions and where the committees were not in place to ensure they were set up accordingly.
Hajia Mahama said staff of her ministry had been briefed on Covid-19 precautionary measures and visits to the ministry were strictly by appointment.
In addition to this, the ministry had procured a number of gun thermometers to check temperature of all persons who enter the ministry and also made available hand sanitisers at vantage points in the office premises.
She said the ministry was monitoring the situation and still receiving progress reports and would continue to update Ghanaians on compliance to the directives and measures put in place to prevent community spread of the virus.
By Cliff Ekuful