The Ghana Health Service (GHS) says update on its COVID-19 guidelines at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) is focused on China due to the lack of clarity on the surge in that country.
“The guidelines were reviewed with specific focus on China because the GHS is not sure of the type of COVID-19 variant in China, we know of the COVID-19 variant in other countries, but for China we are not sure, that is why we are putting in place measures to avert the importation of a variant form China into the country.”
Dr Franklin Asiedu-Bekoe, Director of Public Health at the GHS, told the Ghana News Agency that the Service would not have bothered to update guidelines at the Kotoka International Airport but for the uncertainties in that country.
Since December 2022, hospitals in China were said to be recording high attendance amid concerns about a fresh COVID-19 wave.
Many countries have since taken stringent measures regarding travelers coming in from China due to the lack of clear information on the surge in COVID-19 cases there.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said it was understandable that some countries were taking steps to protect their citizens given the void of information about the COVID-19 situation in the country.
The WHO said it was holding meetings with Chinese officials to underline the importance of sharing more details about the COVID-19 issues, including hospitalisation rates and sequences.
The Ghana Airport Company Limited (GACL) said effective January 6, 2023, passengers originating their journey from China would be required to present a valid negative COVID-19 PCR test result, 48 hours prior to departure from the originating country.
The passengers would be required to undergo mandatory COVID-19 testing on arrival at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) at no cost.
The Company said all other passengers originating their journey from elsewhere other than China vaccinated or unvaccinated would be required to present a valid negative COVID-19 PCR test result 48 hours prior to departure from originating country.
“Such passengers will be required to undergo mandatory COVID-19 testing on arrival at the Kotoka International Airport at no cost,” it added.
It said passengers may also be randomly selected and offered test on arrival and non-Ghanaians traveling to KIA with fake or forged vaccination certificates shall be quarantined and returned to the point of embarkation at their own cost.
It said Similarly, all arriving passengers would undergo temperature screening, Yellow Fever Card verification and COVID-19 vaccination certificate verification as required.
The GACL said children less than 18 years of age were exempted from mandatory vaccination and all persons arriving in Ghana who were fully vaccinated would be exempted from any form of testing done either prior to boarding from originating country or on arrival in Ghana except passengers originating their journey from China.
It said Airlines that brought passengers who were not fully vaccinated to KIA or passengers originating their journey from China without a valid negative COVID-19 PCR test result 48 hours prior to departure would be surcharged $3500.
It said passengers, transiting and transferring through KIA would be required to fully adhere to COVID-19 testing requirements at the destination countries.
“Airline crew are exempted from the pre-departure and arrival COVID-19 testing and should follow the Airline policy for testing,” it said.
A person is said to be fully vaccinated when he/she has taken the full dose of vaccines approved and registered by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), Ghana or other vaccines prequalified by WHO.