Travelers arriving in Ghana by air are to pay $150 (¢866) for COVID-19 testing, officials have revealed prior to the reopening of air borders on September 1.
The Kotoka International Airport has been closed to international passenger traffic since March following the outbreak of COVID-19.
The Managing Director of the Ghana Airports Company Limited, Yaw Kwakwa told the media the accuracy of the testing is around 99 to 100 per cent.
The mandatory testing is to be run on all passengers arriving in Ghana as part of measures taken by the Aviation Ministry and Health Ministry to prevent the importation of COVID-19 into the country and the spread of the virus.
“It takes a maximum of 30 minutes for a particular passenger to go through the entire process and get his or her results
“This system is so convenient that passengers will practically go through our terminal building with only a fraction of time added to what they used to do before,” he added.
“It is mandatory for any airline coming to Ghana to ensure that passengers have a face mask on but we know that some of our people will be traveling from afar.
“When you are coming from London, you will probably travel like six hours and so when you land at the KIA and you come through the passenger door and get to the edge of the terminal building, we will give you a fresh face mask.
“There is a service provider that we are using to do all of this. So we give you the face mask and you start going through the process. When you enter you go to the far end of the upper part of arrivals and you queue to go through the testing centre.
“But one convenience is that there is no country that you can go through the process and be able to get the results within 30 minutes and if you are negative the health professionals take over from there,” he said.
The persons including the former Minister of Communications, Dr. Omane Boamah has questioned the fee being charged.
But defending the $150 fee for the testing, the Deputy Minister for Health Dr Benard Oko-Boye described the amount as reasonable adding that “nothing is more expensive than contracting Covid-19 itself”.
He also argued that the decision was taken after assessing charges by other countries.
“The cost of the test will not put unnecessary difficulty or burden on the passenger. We looked at what is being charged across the globe so when you go to a place like Zimbabwe you pay about $210 for a test.
“In China, you pay about $150 for a test and they are even doing PCR which is a very good test that identifies the virus itself. But in China after paying $150 you have to wait for about 6 hours average before you get results.
“Also remember that anyone coming into Ghana must have a negative PCR test and on the average, in Europe, if you enter a lab to do that, it is about 100 euros.
“Here at the airport, we are interested in two things; the test must be very specific and sensitize which means it must tell us if you have the virus and if it says it’s negative then you pose no threat to Ghanaians.
“We were also interested in how long it takes to get the results. And with these two indicators, we now had to decide whether $150 dollars of having the two most important requirements met is reasonable or not.”