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6 things you must know about international flights to Ghana during COVID-19

BY: Kweku Zurek
Ghana's Kotoka International Airport
Ghana's Kotoka International Airport

President Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo has announced six measures that have been put in place at Ghana's Kotoka International Airport to prevent the importation of Coronavirus cases.

The President in a televised address said the measures which apply to all arrivals are to ensure that the reopening of the airports, does not lead to the importation or resurgence of the virus in the country.

As of Sunday, August 30, 2020, Ghana has recorded 44,205 cases with 42,777 recoveries, 276 deaths and an active case count of 1,152.

The President said: "It has been well-established that the very first cases of COVID-19 in Ghana were imported into our shores. We are determined to make sure this scenario does not recur. The commitment to ensuring that the gradual easing of restrictions, including the reopening of our airports, does not lead to the importation or resurgence of the virus into our country, is firmly in place. That is why the following measures have been taken and duly communicated to airlines wishing to resume flights to Ghana:

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1. any passenger arriving in Ghana must be in possession of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result from an accredited laboratory in the country of origin. The test should have been done not more than seventy-two (72) hours before the scheduled departure from the country of origin. All airlines have been instructed to ensure compliance with this directive for all passengers wishing to travel to Ghana, and those airlines who fail in this regard will be duly sanctioned;

2. disembarking passengers must do so wearing face masks;

3. upon disembarking from the aeroplane, each passenger will undergo a mandatory COVID-19 test at the airport terminal, at a fee to be borne by the passenger. The test result will be available within thirty (30) minutes;

4. children under the ages of five (5) will not be required to undergo testing at the airport;

5. passengers, who test positive for COVID-19, will be handled by the health authorities for further clinical assessment and management; and

6. passengers, who test negative, can, thereupon, enter Ghana to go about their lawful activities, and will be advised to continue to observe COVID-19 safety precautions during their stay in Ghana".

Background

Ghana’s air, sea and land borders were first closed on Sunday, March 22, 2020, following an order by President Akufo-Addo as part of efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

Addressing the nation in a televised broadcast, the President said the country’s borders will remain closed for two more weeks beginning Monday, April 20.

The President in that address explained that it was because the majority of confirmed COVID-19 cases have come from travellers or from people who have come into contact with travellers.

"It is, therefore, incumbent on us to continue to be vigilant about travellers into our country until further notice, and to congratulate the men and women of the Immigration Service and the Marine Police Unit for their work in securing our borders, he said".

"The arrest of ten West African nationals in Tamale who all tested positive for the virus; the arrest of the six Nigerian travellers who entered Ghana through unapproved routes along the Ghana-Togo border near Aflao, who also tested positive for the virus; and the recent arrest of ten fishermen in the Western Region, who returned from Cote d'Ivoire and have been quarantined, testify to the determination of our security services to protect our borders. I have, thus, signed an Executive Instrument, to extend the closure of our borders for two more weeks, beginning Monday, 20th April".