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Business News of Tuesday, 4 May 2021


Government banks on PanaBios to avert third coronavirus wave, check fake results

Kotoka International Airport’s Terminal 3 Kotoka International Airport’s Terminal 3

All passengers travelling in and out of the country are now mandated to register and generate a Trust Travel code on the PanaBios system that will be digitally verified by authorities at the Kotoka International Airport.

The deployed of the comprehensive technology for use by all travelers is part of efforts to avert a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and to address the issue of fake results presented by some passengers to health authorities.

The technology christened PanaBios, which make digital verification of COVID-19 test results, is based on the African Union Trusted Travel and ECOWAS BIOMARS standard.

The technology platform, which is jointly powered by the Ghana Health Service and the PanaBIOS Consortium, covers all the authorised COVID-19 PCR testing laboratories in the country.

The IT system becomes the third safety layer—beside the PCR test required for arriving passengers and the conduct of an antigen test upon arrival for all travelers– in the West Africa country’s fight against the deadly respiratory diseases that has in recent days claimed more lives and infected hundreds in major economies such as India, Brazil and Turkey.

The third wave of the disease in these countries and increased imported cases in April, has forced some countries to restrict travel to persons who have recently visited countries with experiencing a third wave in Europe, Asia and Latin America.

For instance, Nigerian authorities have announced that effective today May 4, any passenger who has visited India, Brazil and Turkey will be denied entry into the country.

As at May 3, Ghana had a total of 92,683 confirmed cases–82 of which were new cases– with 779 deaths. Despite confirming an increase in imported cases at the Kotoka International Airport in April, Ghanaian authorities are yet to announce any such restrictions to passengers from the three countries going through a third wave.

Ghana’s current COVID-19 protocol

By the country’s policy, all international arrivals, including those from the ECOWAS region, are required to meet specific health protocols before admission into Ghana. 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 departure. The passengers are made to complete a form and then proceed to the sampling cubicle for their samples to be taken before descending to the main arrival hall.

ECOWAS nationals and travelers, who test positive for COVID-19, bear the cost of the mandatory isolation and treatment. Ghanaian nationals who test positive, upon their arrival into the country, have their isolation and treatment costs borne by the State.

The cost for the mandatory COVID-19 test at the Kotoka International Airport for all in-bound ECOWAS nationals, including children between the ages of 5-12years, is US$50. The cost of the test for non-ECOWAS nationals, however, still remains US$150 per passenger.

Meanwhile, all land borders remain closed.