The Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL) has outlined measures to be adopted at the Kotoka International Airport to prevent passengers travelling from China into Ghana from spreading the virus in the wake of hike in COVID-19 cases in the East Asia country.
Effective January 6, 2023, all passengers arriving at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) from China would be required to produce valid negative COVID-19 polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test results taken at least 48 hours prior to departure.
In addition, all such passengers would be required to undergo mandatory COVID-19 testing on arrival at the airport at no cost.
The GACL made the announcement in revised COVID-19 travelling guidelines issued in Accra on Tuesday.
“All persons arriving in Ghana (citizens, residents, and visitors) who are fully vaccinated will be exempt from any form of testing done either prior to boarding from originating country or on arrival in Ghana except passengers originating their journey from China,” the statement directed.
It cautioned however, that all other passengers, originating their journey from elsewhere other than China (i.e., Ghanaian citizens, permanent residents of Ghana or non-Ghanaians), who are partially vaccinated or unvaccinated would be required to present a valid negative COVID-19 PCR test result 48 hours prior to departing from originating countries.
Such travellers, the GACL noted, would undergo mandatory COVID-19 testing on arrival at the KIA at no cost.
“Passengers may be randomly selected and offered test on arrival. Airlines that bring passengers to KIA who are not fully vaccinated or passengers originating their journey from China without a valid negative COVID-19 PCR test results 48 hours prior to the departure would be surcharged $3500,” the statement warned.
The updated COVID-19 guidelines at the KIA comes on the back of concerns raised by the Ghana Health Service (GHS) over the potential threat China’s current situation posed to Ghana.
“The change in global situation particularly with reported increase in new cases in China and other countries as well as Ghana’s relatively low vaccine coverage poses a major threat of importation and a new wave of COVID-19 infection in the country,” a statement issued by the Director-General of the GHS, Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, on Monday, January 1, 2023 said.
He said health authorities were monitoring the situation closely to inform country specific measures to address the current threat.
Dr Kuma-Aboagye encouraged all Ghanaians who have not availed themselves for the COVID-l9 vaccination to do so adding that, “those who have taken their first dose are to go for the second dose and those who have taken their second dose are also entreated to go for a booster.”
“Vaccination remains the best protection against COVID-19 infection,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, Ghana’s active cases as of December 26, 2022 stood at six with no severe or critical cases.
The country has a death toll of 1,461 from COVID-19 infections.
However by December 9, 2023, 21.4 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered across the country.
About 9.2 million people among the Ghanaian population are fully immunised, 12.1 persons taken at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 2.7 million receiving a booster dose.
BY ABIGAIL ANNOH