The Council of Ghanaian Associations of the Washington DC Metro Area (COGA), in the United States has called on the government of Ghana to reduce the in-country COVID-19 test fee of $150 charged to most arriving travellers at Kotoka International Airport (KIA) to $100. In a letter dated September 22, 2020, to the Deputy Minister Health Honorable Bernard Boye and a copy to His Excellency Dr. Barfuor Adjei-Barwuah, Ambassador, Republic of Ghana to the United States, COGA stated that fee should be based on cost and not what other countries are charging. COGA also requested the Ministry of Health to tell the travelling public how long arriving passengers will continue to pay the fee.
COGA also requested the Ministry of Health to change the protocols at KIA for arriving passengers to agree with departing passengers. Specifically, the protocols state all KIA arriving passengers must possess a COVID-19 PCR test result from the country of origin 72 hours before departure from that country. Under the same protocols, however, “passengers who depart Ghana and return within one (1) week will not be required to present a COVID-19 test result from the country of departure”.
This means that for arriving passengers at KIA, an in-country negative test result from Ghana is “valid” for one week regardless of the country they visited. However, a negative result of an arriving passenger is valid for only 72 hours regardless of the country where the test was administered. If a negative test result from Ghana is valid for one week, why should a negative test from other countries be valid for only 72 hours?
COGA also stated that in the United States, it takes several days to get such results after taking the test. Additionally, the results in most cases are dated on the day the test sample was taken which makes it impossible for many travellers to meet the 72-hour deadline since airlines require travellers to make flight reservations several days in advance before departure.
Since the KIA was reopened on September 1, 2020, several passengers have been denied airline boarding privileges at Washington DC and New York airports in the United States for flights to Ghana because of the 72-hour requirement, please it needs to be changed as soon as possible.