With immediate effect, the government has lifted all COVID-19 restrictions at the country’s ports of entry.
As such, pre-departure testing for COVID-19 and all other tests at Ghana’s entry points are no longer a requirement, so, has the health declaration form for international travellers been suspended.
These were contained in a statement issued yesterday by the Director General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, following the announcement by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on May 5, 2023 that COVID-19 was no longer a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).
According to the international health body, globally, there are decreasing numbers of deaths and hospitalisations with high levels of population immunity against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Consequently, although the disease remains a global health threat, countries could now transition from emergency mode to managing COVID-19 alongside other infectious diseases.
Giving an update on Ghana’s situation, Dr Kuma-Aboagye noted that over the past five months, there has been a sustained decline of COVID-19 cases.
“As of May 15, 2023, there were only 18 active cases none of which is severe or critical. The only COVID-19 death in 2023 was in January,” he said.
Among other significant successes chalked in containing the disease, the GHS said, it would however not relent in ensuring operational readiness in responding to any possible surge.
“Ghana has had outbreaks of Marburg Virus Disease, Lassa Fever, Monkey Pox, Measles and Yellow Fever since the declaration of COVID-19 as a PHEIC.
The health systems in the country have maintained sufficient capacity in the midst of these threats. The Ministry of Health and the GHS, with support of our partners, will continue to ensure operational readiness and flexibility to respond during surges of COVID-19 while maintaining other essential health services and preparing for the emergence of new variants with increased severity or capacity,” the Service assured.
Nonetheless the D-G maintained that measures including surveillance, COVID-19 vaccination drive and adherence to general safety measures would have to continue.
“For constant vigilance and protection of persons from COVID-19 infections, vaccination drive will continue, persons with symptoms of fever, cough and sore throat would be tested for both flu and COVID-19 at our sentinel sites across all 16 regions.
Surveillance will continue to help us identify any new COVID-19 variants of concern. The public is to maintain general safety measures like hand washing with soap and water or use of alcohol-based hand sanitiser. Persons with complaints of fever, cough and sore throat should report to the nearest health facility for management and persons who test positive for COVID-19 are to be managed with existing protocols.”
BY ABIGAIL ANNOH