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Regional News of Friday, 28 August 2020

Source: GNA

Reopening of KIA: Minister impressed with progress of work hopeful to reopen airport in September

Mr. Joseph Kofi Adda, is the Minister for Aviation Mr. Joseph Kofi Adda, is the Minister for Aviation

Mr. Joseph Kofi Adda, the Minister of Aviation, has expressed his satisfaction with the progress of work towards the reopening of the Kotoka International Airport and expressed optimism about it being ready by September one.

All the necessary preventive and safety safety protocols, he said, would be put in place to prevent the re-importation of the Coronavirus at the facility, which was closed to contain the pandemic.

The preparations were being done in collaboration with stakeholders, the Minister said, in Accra, when he toured the Terminal Three of the Airport to inspect ongoing works ahead of the scheduled start of operations.

President Akufo-Addo in his 15th National Update on COVID-19 Measures, on August 16, 2020, said the Government was hoping that by September 1, 2020, the assessment of readiness to test all passengers would have been completed to enable the airports to be re-opened.

The Minister said in view of the President’s address, a stakeholder engagement involving the Ministry of Aviation, the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority and the Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL) was instituted for effective assessment ahead of the reopening of the border.

The Minister said the country had managed the COVID-19 cases well, relatively better than other countries and was thus praised both in Europe and North America.

“We want to make sure that the country’s airport is better prepared and shaped and be able to smoothly bring in passengers after going through all the required testing procedures to curb the spread of the virus into the country,” he said.

He stated that with effective containment systems put in place, both abroad and in Ghana, the Government could identify passengers who may test positive for COVID-19 and isolate them for the necessary action.

He said all the countries involved in the reopening of the airports had followed the standard operational procedures sanctioned by the World Health Organization and the International Civil Aviation Organization.

He said the Ministry would meet the airline operators and other stakeholders to conclude all arrangements and disinfect the airport before the due date.
Mr Yaw Kwakwa, the Managing Director, GACL, said management had installed 350 sampling booths each at the south and north of the Terminal Three arrival points to test passengers for COVID-19.

He said the test would last between 12 and 15 minutes for the results to be ready and that all the COVID-19 health protocols were would be observed, including, social distancing markings, hand washing with soap and water and sanitizers placed at vantage positions.

Mr Kwakwa said management would organise a full blown simulation exercise at the peak hours to test its readiness before operation starts.

Mr Gideon Akwei, Head of Airport Health, Kotoka International Airport, explaining the procedures to receive passengers, said they would be organised in a queue, observing the social distance rules and then be directed to where their samples would be taken.

They would then proceed to the airport health to check their temperatures with the thermal scanners and to the Immigration and Customs Units for the necessary checks before exiting.

He said when a passenger tested positive he would be sent to the Counselling Unit manned by doctors and psychologists for counselling and later transported to the health centre.