Passengers traveling to Ghana will from Tuesday, September 15, be required to make online payments for the mandatory COVID-19 test at Kotoka International Airport prior to boarding of their flight, a directive by Frontier HealthCare and Ghana Airports Company circulated to all airlines on Friday has revealed.
By the new directive, “Passengers are required to show proof of payment to airlines as a condition for boarding of flights to KIA.”
Ghana on September 1, 2020, opened its air space for international flights and instituted a compulsory testing regime upon arrival for all international passengers at a cost of US$150 or flat rate of GH¢900.
The new directive, has however, been described by airlines as detrimental to the renewed efforts to stimulate demand for air travel, given that cash payments remains the predominant mode of payment for most Ghanaian travelers.
An airline operator which wishes to remain anonymous, told Business24 that: “The cost is already too high and now this new policy is also going to be implemented. There are hundreds of Ghanaian traders who travel to buy goods to retail in the country.
“Most of them don’t carry any electronic payment cards to be able to pay online. They should have the flexibility to pay cash when they arrive.”
Consumer Protection Agency questions cost of test
Consumer-focused Consumer Protection Agency (CPA) has raised critical questions about the relatively high cost of the country’s COVID-19 testing regime.
The CPA’s Chief Executive Officer, Kofi Kapito, said in as much as the government want to curb imported cases of the respiratory disease, it must not burden the passenger but charge what is enough to cover their cost and not to profit from the passenger.
“Look around Africa and you see that what is paid in Ghana for the test is the highest. Why should that be?”
He also raised questions about why the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research of the University of Ghana, was not made to handle the testing for a reasonable fee but rather a contract given to a foreign company to do what Noguchi could adequately handle.
The testing regime
By the country’s policy, all international arrivals, including those from the ECOWAS region, will be 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.
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 results of their COVID-19 tests made known to them.
Arriving passengers who test negative will then proceed to immigration and onto baggage claim for their luggage and then exit the terminal. Positive cases will receive further clinical assessment and treatment.