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General News of Friday, 21 August 2020


Coronavirus: Ghana developing special kit to test passengers arriving at airports

File photo of a section of the Kotoka International Airport File photo of a section of the Kotoka International Airport

Ghana is preparing to deploy a special Coronavirus testing kit to test international passengers arriving at the Kotoka International Airport and other ports of entry.

Currently, the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research is testing the potency of the kit, dubbed Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Detection Kit, ahead of reopening of Ghana’s international air traffic later this month.

According to a report by Aviation Ghana, the trial of the kit is expected to be completed within days and a decision made on the final modalities for the re-opening by August 26, 2020.

“Preliminary COVID-19 safety modalities under discussion require departing travellers to show proof of a negative PCR test before being allowed to access the departure hall of Terminal 3—which is used for international operations—and to undergo temperature checks at the entrance and wear face masks throughout their pre-departure formalities,” the report said.

According to the Aviation-focused web portal, arriving passengers will have to take a PCR test at the upper arrival section of Terminal 3.

“It may take up to 30 minutes for the result of a test to be known. The passenger is also to bear the cost of the COVID-19 test, estimated at between GH¢250-GH¢500.

“Only in-bound passengers with negative PCR tests will then be allowed to descend to the arrival hall to complete their arrival formalities and exit the terminal,” the report explained further.

The other two options, according to the report, include allowing arriving passengers with credible PCR test results from specialised hospitals in their place of embarkation to fill out a comprehensive form detailing their physical home address, work address and other necessary details.

“Subsequently, a specially designed technology will be deployed to track and monitor them while the new PCR test results are released within 24 hours,” the report said.

Meanwhile, proponents say this move will prevent congestion at the airport and facilitate the process, but it is unlikely to be accepted given the stance by President Akufo-Addo that all persons arriving must be tested to prevent a second wave of COVID-19 infections in the country.

The option of a 24-hour quarantine in hotels upon arrival has also been called into question due to the limited hotel rooms available to accommodate the thousands of passenger that use the KIA daily.

In 2019, about 8,000 people used the KIA daily.