Travellers flying into Ghana to pay R2 510 for Covid-19 test
By Brenda Masilela
Travellers flying into Ghana through Kotoka International Airport will have to pay US$150 (R2 510) for a Covid-19 test as from Tuesday.
In a series of tweets, Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said the mandatory testing of all passengers arriving in the country formed part of the directives outlined by the ministries of aviation and health to prevent the importation of Covid-19 into the country.
Speaking during a media briefing held at the airport in Accra, the managing director of Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL), Yaw Kwakwa, said aviation was the driving force of the economy and they had to make sure to open it.
"People who drive taxis and operate restaurants will continue to suffer if we don't open some avenues which boost the economy, but we agreed that we have to be responsible in our actions and make it easy for people to come to Ghana."
Kwakwa said they had enhanced the testing measures and made sure they were also convenient for passengers. He added that the accuracy of the testing device was around 99 to 100 percent.
"It takes a maximum of 30 minutes for a particular passenger to go through the entire process to get results from the port health. 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 said the airport will continue to enforce the rule of wearing masks and maintaining physical distancing among passengers.
"Other measures we have put in place are the provision of sanitising stations at the entrance and throughout the airport."
Deputy Minister of Health Dr Benard Oko-Boye said charging US$150 was a bargain compared to contracting the virus and that the cost was reasonable when compared to countries such as Zimbabwe, China and Togo.
“We looked at what is being charged across the globe, so when you go to a place like Zimbabwe you pay about US$210 for a test. In China, you pay about US$150 for a test and they are even doing PCR (polymerase chain reaction), which is a very good test that identifies the virus itself. But in China after paying US$150 you have to wait for about six hours average before you get results.
"When you go to Togo, you pay about €150. In Nigeria, you pay about US$130 and then go to a hotel and wait for results for about one or two nights, meaning you are paying more just to be sure you don't have the virus.
“Here at the airport, we are interested in two things. The test must be very specific and sensitive, which means it must tell us if you have the virus, and if it says it is 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 US$150 dollars of having the two most important requirements met is reasonable or not,” Oko-Boye said.
African News Agency (ANA); Editing by Yaron Blecher