Sunday, September 20, 2020

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Coronavirus test at Kotoka Airport: ‘No Payment, No Entry’ policy deferred

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The Ghana Airports Company Limited, after a meeting with international airlines operating in the country, has deferred the implementation of the “No Payment, No Entry” policy for all in-bound passengers.

The policy, which was to come into effect on Tuesday, September 15, required all in-bound passengers to pay online for the mandatory COVID-19 test at Kotoka International Airport prior to boarding their flights.

After the crunch meeting held on Tuesday morning, the GACL has deferred the implementation of the policy to Monday, September 21, and has allowed for other payment options including cash.

Ghana reopened its air border for international flights on September 1 and has instituted a compulsory testing regime upon arrival for all international passengers, at a cost of US$150 or a flat rate of GH¢900.

However, the inability of a small number of arriving passengers to pay for the COVID-19 antigen test upon arrival made GACL and Frontier HealthCare—the company in charge of the testing—decide to enforce an online payment policy.

The new directive was, however, described by airlines as detrimental to the renewed efforts to stimulate demand for air travel, given that cash payment remains the predominant mode of payment for most Ghanaian travellers.

Ghana’s COVID-19 testing protocol

An arriving passenger must not have symptoms suggestive of COVID-19, with body temperature not exceeding 38 degrees Celsius. The passenger is also required to possess a negative PCR test result, done at most 72 hours before departure, from a certified lab in the country of embarkation.

Upon arrival, passengers who were unable to pay online will join a queue to pay US$150 for the COVID-19 test at the payment centre at the Upper Arrival section of Terminal 3, and then proceed to the sampling cubicle for their samples to be taken before descending to the main arrival hall.

At the arrival hall, passengers will be screened at one of the Port Health stations and the results of their COVID-19 tests made known to them.

Arriving passengers who test negative will then proceed to immigration and to baggage claim for their luggage and then exit the terminal. Positive cases will receive further clinical assessment and treatment.

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