Travellers to Ghana to pay US$150 for COVID-19 test

Travellers arriving in Ghana by air following the reopening of the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) are expected to pay US$150 for a COVID-19 test as part of measures to control the spread of the Coronavirus in the country.

The mandatory testing of all passengers arriving in the country effective Tuesday, September 1, forms part of directives outlined by the Ministry of Aviation and Health to prevent the importation of the disease into the country.

Speaking at a press briefing in Accra on Monday, the Managing Director of the Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL), Mr Yaw Kwakwa said the accuracy of the testing was around 99 to 100 per cent.

Mr Kwakwa described the specificity and turnaround time of the test as convenient saying, “it takes a maximum of 30 minutes for a particular passenger to go through the entire process and get his or her results. This system is so convenient that passengers will practically go through our terminal building with only a fraction of time added to what they used to do before.”

US$150 justification

Justifying the US$150 charge for the COVID-19 test, a Deputy Minister of Health, Dr Benard Oko-Boye said the amount was a good bargain since “nothing is more expensive than contracting COVID-19 itself.”

He also argued that the decision was taken after assessing charges by other countries such as Zimbabwe, China and Togo.

“We looked at what is being charged across the globe so when you go to a place like Zimbabwe you pay about $210 for a test. In China, you pay about $150 for a test and they are even doing PCR which is a very good test that identifies the virus itself. But in China after paying $150 you have to wait for about 6 hours average before you get results. Also remember that anyone coming into Ghana must have a negative PCR test and on the average, in Europe, if you enter a lab to do that, it is about 100 euros,” he explained.

“Here at the airport, we are interested in two things; the test must be very specific and sensitive which means it must tell us if you have the virus and if it says it is negative then you pose no threat to Ghanaians. We were also interested in how long it takes to get the results. And with these two indicators, we now had to decide whether $150 dollars of having the two most important requirements met is reasonable or not,” he added.

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