President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has ordered the reopening of the Kotoka International Airport for business beginning 1st September 2020.
The borders of the country by way of air, sea and land, were closed to human traffic by President Akufo-Addo on Saturday the 21st of March 2020, as result of the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus in Ghana to stop the importation of the virus into the country and has remained in force till date.
In his sixteenth (16th) address to the nation since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19 in Ghana, President Akufo-Addo said he is satisfied with the preparations and simulation exercises that have been conducted at the Kotoka International Airport as well as the COVID-19 testing facilities installed at the port of entry and it is therefore safe to allow the airport to resume operations.
“Fellow Ghanaians, in update no.15, I announced the easing of restrictions in some areas of national life. I also indicated my hope that preparations and simulation exercises underway, including the installation of COVID-19 testing facilities at Kotoka International Airport, would give us a clear indication as to whether or not we could re-open the airport on 1st September. After weeks of thorough work, I am satisfied that it is safe to do so. Fellow Ghanaians, I am glad to announce that Kotoka International Airport will reopen and resume operations from Tuesday, 1st September 2020. This decision has been communicated to international airlines across the world,” the President said in his address.
*Mindful of COVID-19 Importation*
President Akufo-Addo indicated that he is mindful of the fact that the very first cases of COVID-19 in Ghana were imported into the country and his administration is determined to make sure the scenario does not recur.
“The commitment to ensuring that the gradual easing of restrictions, including the reopening of our airports, does not lead to the importation or resurgence of the virus into our country, is firmly in place,” President Akufo-Addo said.
Additional measures, according to the President, have also been put in place and duly communicated to international airlines wishing to resume flights to Ghana and they are; firstly, “any passenger arriving in Ghana must be in possession of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result from an accredited laboratory in the country of origin. The test should have been done not more than seventy-two (72) hours before the scheduled departure from the country of origin. All airlines have been instructed to ensure compliance with this directive for all passengers wishing to travel to Ghana, and those airlines who fail in this regard will be duly sanctioned.”
Secondly, “disembarking passengers must do so wearing face masks, and thirdly; upon disembarking from the aeroplane, each passenger will undergo a mandatory COVID-19 test at the airport terminal, at a fee to be borne by the passenger. The test result will be available within thirty (30) minutes.” Information available to Asaase Radio is that the fee for the test will be the cedi equivalent of one hundred and fifty dollars ($150.00) and passengers will have to pay the fee online before arriving Ghana.
"Fourthly, children under the ages of five (5) will not be required to undergo testing at the airport. The fifth measure is that passengers, who test positive for COVID-19, will be handled by the health authorities for further clinical assessment and management and lastly passengers, who test negative, can, thereupon, enter Ghana to go about their lawful activities, and will be advised to continue to observe COVID-19 safety precautions during their stay in Ghana.”
According to the President, the Ministries of Information, Health and Aviation, and their respective agencies, that is, the Ghana Health Service, the Ghana Airports Company Limited, and the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority, have been directed to spell out in further detail the protocols surrounding the re-opening of the international airport, and the procedures to be adhered to by passengers arriving in Ghana at the COVID-19 media briefing scheduled for tomorrow, Monday, 31st August 2020.
*Sea and Land borders*
On the country’s land and sea borders, the President announced that they will remain closed to human traffic.
“For the avoidance of doubt, our borders, by land and sea, will continue to remain closed to human traffic until further notice,” President Akufo-Addo said.
*Obsevation Safety Protocols*
In his address, President Akufo-Addo made a passionate appeal to the citizenry to continue with the observation of all the COVID-19 safety protocols as instituted by the Ghana Health Service and government. He indicated that law enforcement agencies in the country will continue to ensure that everyone strictly observes all the protocols.
"I have been reliably informed that, in some regions of our country where there are no active cases, some residents are abandoning, altogether, the protocols, such as the wearing of masks, put in place to defeat the virus. Indeed, the high compliance rate with mask wearing of persons surveyed by the Ghana Health Service in some selected areas of Accra, to which I referred optimistically in my last address, has, according to a new survey by the same Service, fallen alarmingly. This is not acceptable, as the enhanced hygiene, mask wearing and social distancing protocols must now be central features of our Iives, and they must continue to remain so for some time to come, until we see to the elimination of the virus from our country" President Akufo-Addo said.
"Let me remind those amongst us, who want to continue to disregard these protocols, that severe sanctions exist in our laws for such persons, who will want to endanger the rest of the population through their actions and negligence. The law enforcement agencies will, where necessary, apply these measures without fear or favour, ill-will or malice, and without recourse to a person's ethnicity, gender or religion" President Akufo-Addo added.