Airport reopening: Okoe Boye justifies $150 COVID-19 testing fee

BY: graphic.com.gh

A Deputy Health Minister, Dr. Bernard Okoe Boye has justified the US$150 COVID-19 test fee to be paid by travellers arriving in Ghana by air following the reopening of the Kotoka International Airport (KIA).

The KIA will tomorrow Tuesday, September 1, 2020, be opened for international flights following the institution of enhanced safety protocols at the facility to prevent the importation of the Coronavirus into Ghana.

Per the new guidelines, travellers arriving in the country aree expected to pay US$150 for a mandatory COVID-19 test.

Speaking at press briefing in Accra on Monday, Dr Okoe Boye said the fee was reasonable compared with global charges.

“As a ministry and a government who are stakeholders in the management of COVID-19, we were very much interested in the cost of the test. We wanted to make sure that the cost of the test will not put an unnecessary burden on the passenger. So we quickly looked at what is being charged across the globe,” he said.

The deputy minister explained that, “when you go to a place like Zimbabwe you will pay about $210 for the test. In China, you will pay about $150 for the test. In Togo and Benin you will pay about 150 euros and in Nigeria, it is 130 dollars but you will have to go to a hotel and lodge till the results are ready.

“With the turnaround time and accuracy of the test assured, we had to decide whether the $150 was enough to cover all the expenses. We finally agreed to peg it at that for now," hee added.

He also explained that the new arrangement was very prudent as compared to the previous arrangement where travellers had to pay for accommodation for two weeks to enable them quarantine for the period while awaiting their results.

Meanwhile, the Ghana Airport Company is expecting to receive a total of 1200 passengers within its peak period after reopening, the Managing Director of Ghana Airport Company Limited, Yaw Kwakwa has said.

He assured that his outfit had the capacity for any overflow of passengers, explaining that 480 tests could be conducted within 15 minutes, “Within 15 minutes we can test about 480 people. So taking into consideration all the odds of the maximum number of passengers we can have at a time and other factors, we have more than enough capacity.”