KIA unveils stricter measures to curb COVID-19 importation

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Some passengers at the airport
  • airlines to be fined US$3,500 per passenger for non-compliance
  • foreigners to be deported for non-compliance   

The Kotoka International Airport (KIA) has outlined new and stricter measures to curb the importation of COVID-19 cases into the country, as the airport has seen an increase in recorded positive cases due to international airlines taking advantage of operational gaps.

With the country recording higher numbers of new cases daily – and with the fear of a second wave of the pandemic lurking, state institutions at the forefront of fighting the pandemic are tightening all loose-ends to safeguard the country’s health by introducing some new and stricter measures at the country’s major air border, the KIA.

Some of the measures introduced to curb the rising number of cases include fining airlines which board passengers without PCR test results, or transport and disembark passengers with Positive PCR test results into Accra, US$3,500 per passenger.

Also, non-Ghanaians may be refused entry and returned to their point of embarkation at a cost to the airline, while Ghanaians will be allowed entry but subject to 14 days of mandatory quarantine at a designated location at the passenger’s cost.

All international arriving passengers, including those from the ECOWAS region, before admission into Ghana must: show no symptom suggestive of COVID-19 – including body temperature of 38 degrees Celsius and below; possess a COVID-19 negative PCR test from an accredited laboratory in the country of origin; and the test should have been done not more than 72 hours before the scheduled departure time.

Arriving passengers will undergo temperature-screening while Ghanaian residents who depart from Ghana and return within one week will not be required to present a COVID-19 result from the country of departure. They will however, undergo mandatory testing upon arrival in Ghana.

Again, passengers will be subjected to a mandatory COVID-19 test at the airport terminal at a cost of US$150 to be borne by the passenger. Payment must be made online and proof of payment (receipt) shown to airlines before boarding.

Passengers who test negative will be advised to continue observing COVID-19 safety precautions following arrival in Ghana. For passengers who transit through other countries before arriving in Ghana, the first country of departure will be the reference point. Connecting flights should not deny passenger-boarding, as long as the journey has not been terminated in any of the transit countries.

Transit passengers

Passengers transiting and transferring through Accra will not be required to take the COVID-19 test in Accra. Transit passengers will be required to adhere to COVID-19 testing requirements of the destination countries.

Exemptions

Airline crew are exempted from the pre-departure and arrival COVID-19 testing and should follow the airline policy for testing. Children under 5 years of age will not be required to undergo testing on arrival at the KIA.

Passengers who arrive under emergency circumstances, such as diverted flights, will not be required to undergo testing if they do not leave the airport or remain in isolation at their hotel. Children between the ages of 5-12 years will undergo testing on arrival free of charge. Passengers must wear face masks appropriately (extending from the middle nasal bridge to halfway between the chin and the neck) and are advised to regularly use any of the hand sanitising stations provided in the terminal.

Travelling with pets

Travelling with pets into Ghana is allowed in line with guidelines of the Veterinary Services Directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

Departing passengers

All international departing passengers will be required to adhere to COVID-19 testing requirements of the destination countries. Departing passengers will undergo temperature-screening at the entrance of Terminal 3 departures. Only passengers and persons with business in the terminal will be allowed entry. Online check-in or the use of self-service kiosks is strongly encouraged to reduce physical contact at the airport. Passengers are advised to arrive at the airport at least four hours before the scheduled departure time.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in his 19th televised address to the nation on Sunday, November 8, 2020, stated that the government is doing everything possible to limit the importation of Coronavirus into the country. He said government will continue to sanction airlines that flout the COVID-19 directives for arriving passengers

At the time, he indicated that 172 positive Coronavirus cases (currently more than 200) have been recorded among passengers arriving in the country at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA). The president therefore urged airlines to ensure that passengers arriving in the country comply with the 72-hours negative PCR test result directive.

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