The Ghana Airport Company Limited (GACL) has indicated its Covid-19 testing protocol for all passengers entering the country remains unchanged, even for travellers who have taken the Covid-19 vaccine.
According to the company, although some passengers may have been vaccinated against Covid-19, they would still be required to have a negative test before onboarding their flights to Ghana and another test at the airport on their arrival.
“Vaccination does not change the protocol because it does not prevent people from transmitting the disease. So, the protocol has not changed here yet,” said, Yaw Kwakwa Managing Director (GACL).
“We are studying the disease and data, and so far, we have no cause to modify the protocol”.
Mr Kwakwa asserted during a visit by the Parliamentary Select Committee on Health to the Covid-19 testing facility at the airport following reports of increased positive test results a few weeks ago.
The tour was to provide the members of the Select Committee on Health with first-hand information on the Covid-19 testing system being operated by Frontier Healthcare Services (FHS) at the country’s major entry point.
The team, led by the Chairman of the Select Committee on Health, Nana Ayew Afriyie, was taken through the testing process from the point of data collection through to payment of testing fees, which have been reduced from $150 to $50 for Ghanaian nationals, to the sample collection site and then the lab for testing before the results are released.
Managing Director FHS, Dr Kudzo Seneadza, said the facility has been designed to ensure the comfort of passengers by providing efficient and timely service.
He indicated that it takes about 30 minutes for passengers to get through the process adding that there is an online platform that can equally be accessed by passengers for the registration and checking of their Covid-19 test results.
“We are in touch with our manufactures so they can regularly update the system to capture new Covid-19 variants,” he added.
Addressing the media after the tour of the facility, Mr Afriyie, and the Ranking Member of the Select Committee on Health, Kwabena Minta Akandor, both expressed satisfaction with the operational process of the testing system.
“We have gone through the process from arrival before the passenger exits the airport… we can say we are impressed,” they articulated.
They, however, raised concerns over some possible lapses they observed on the tour including several passenger contacts with port officials (Port Health and Immigration) before the test results are released.
They also wished the cost of the test for Ghanaian nationals would be further reduced from the current $50.
“From here, we are going to have a discussion with the authorities on some policy issues regarding the system, some of which include doubts regarding the test results,” they indicated.
Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, (GHS) Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, said testing is important for the identification of new variants of the virus.
“Once a passenger tests positive, the viral sequencing is done for them all to identify which variant. Apart from that, we are doing random sampling for sequencing from our labs to see the kind of variants we have in the country,” he said.
Dr Kuma-Aboagye further indicated that the results of the antigen test at the airport are at par with the PCR test.
“Based on the assessment that we have done, the result is almost at par with that of the PCR test,” he stressed.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri