Former President John Mahama has joined calls for the government to scrap the $50 mandatory COVID-19 test at the Kotoka International Airport.
In a Facebook post recounting his experience travelling to the UK, he said since Ghana’s COVID vaccination card is internationally recognised, he did not have to take a test when he arrived in London.
“It is a most unfortunate situation that Ghanaians who have valid vaccination certificates cannot board flights back home without a £90 PCR test, and an additional US$50 PCR test booking in Accra,” Mahama lamented in his post.
The former president argued that given that, just like the UK, Ghana’s severe COVID-19 cases and deaths have significantly reduced hence the need to review the various restrictions including halting the mandatory tests at the airport and the reopening of the country’s land borders.
“The long border closures have devastated the economy of our border communities. Government’s announcement that it is deliberating at Cabinet about a possible opening of our land borders is long overdue. Let’s open the land borders now,” he added.
Read Mahama’s full post below:
I travelled last month to London on British Airways. I was pleasantly surprised when I was informed that I did not require a COVID-19 PCR test to board the flight. While I was still required to fill a locator form, no further tests were required of me for the 12 days I stayed in the UK.
Imagine my shock when British Airways informed me that I would be required to take a PCR test before I am allowed to board my return flight home. They explained that this is because of regulations in Ghana. It cost £90 to have the test done. I was also informed that I would not be checked in for the flight back unless I filled an online form and paid a fee of $50.
From my recent experience with PCR testing and COVID regulations at our airport, I think it is time for Government to review the procedures and protocols. It is an inconvenience, a financial burden and actually unfair to compell our citizens, who we encouraged to take COVID-19 vaccinations, with some taking the boosters, to pay as much as £90 to a foreign clinic for a PCR test before they are allowed to board flights coming back home.
And even more ridiculous, they must book another $50 PCR test to be conducted on arrival in Accra.
The UK government considers the Ghanaian COVID-19 vaccination card internationally accepted and allows entry once you have the card without any testing.
It is a most unfortunate situation that Ghanaians who have valid vaccination certificates cannot board flights back home without a £90 PCR test, and an additional US$50 PCR test booking in Accra.
Government must stop the US$50 compulsory PCR test for travellers who have been vaccinated. And must also stop the demand for originating PCR tests before the same category of travellers are allowed to board flights to Ghana.
The reason for UK rolling back its COVID-19 restrictions is that deaths are down and severe cases requiring intensive care are down, and besides, they believe it’s time to learn to live with Covid. I think it is time for us in Ghana to do same.
The long border closures have devastated the economy of our border communities. Government’s announcement that it is deliberating at Cabinet about a possible opening of our land borders is long overdue. Let’s open the land borders now!