The Ghana Health Service (GHS) says it will engage various stakeholders to come up with modalities to ensure all persons who arrive in the country are tested for COVID-19 ahead of the possible opening of air borders in September.
President Akufo-Addo in a televised address on Sunday hinted that the country is preparing to reopen its airports to human traffic.
According to the president, he has thus instructed the Ministry of Aviation, the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority and the Ghana Airports Co Limited to work with the Ministry of Health and its agencies, to ascertain the country’s readiness to reopen the airport.
Speaking to Citi News, Director General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Patrick Kumah Aboagye said the service together with its allied agencies will make sure every traveller is tested before being allowed entry.
“Our work is to bring the capacity that allows us to test everybody on arrival. That is what we are working towards. We are looking at the systems and structures to enable us to do that, bearing in mind the number of passengers we expect. We are working with the airport authorities and other agencies like the FDA and Nugochi to ensure that capacity is built for us. But, it is doable.”
“The current protocol is that, anybody who comes in will have to come in with negative PCR not more than 72 hours from the time of arrival. When you get there, we will do another test just to validate. And if you are positive, for which the result will be ready in a very short time, the person will go through our normal routine of how we manage our positives,” he explained.
Ghana’s air, sea and land borders were closed on Sunday, March 22, 2020, as part of efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
The closure left thousands of Ghanaians who have consistently appealed for help over the last few months stranded abroad.
The President reminded Ghanaians that “special dispensation will continue to be given for their evacuation back to Ghana.”
But the government’s pre-condition for evacuation was that the stranded citizens bear the full cost of their ticket 14-day mandatory quarantine when they arrive in the country because of the threat of the novel coronavirus.
In some instances, the government has subsidised the cost of travel and quarantine.
Wearing of face masks education
A recent survey conducted by the GHS showed that, out of a number of persons observed in selected places in Accra, only 44.3% wear face masks properly.
Even though the survey proved that 82% of these persons possessed a face mask, just a few actually wore them in the appropriate way.
But Dr. Patrick Kumah Aboagye further added that the GHS will be embarking on an exercise to educate all Ghanaians on the need to wear nose masks properly as advised by the president.
“We are embarking on our risk communication on how people must wear the mask properly through education, stakeholder engagements and other things to know whether we are doing better or we are going down to change the narrative of why people are not wearing it. If we don’t intensify the preventive aspect, it will be difficult for us to maintain the current status that we have and even make it better.