The former Deputy Health Minister Dr. Bernard Okoe Boye has hinted of a possible reduction in the cost of the mandatory COVID-19 test at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA).
The former Member of Parliament for Ledzokuku reveals that there are currently engagements ongoing to review the downward in the current $150 dollars to something moderate.
The mandatory COVID-19 test by air passengers into the country was pegged at $150 which many people describing it to be expensive especially when compared to other countries across the globe.
Due to this, there have been many calls by experts and air passengers on the government to reduce the cost of the test.
Speaking to Accra-based radio station, Citi FM, Dr. Okoe Boye said “I discussed with a key player at the airport, and they said they are looking at all the factors. Previously, they were testing kids, between 5-12 years. They were to pay $150. As we speak, that has been cancelled. They will be tested, but they don’t pay. It is this same concerns from the public that influenced this. Constant discussions always have the potential to give you what you want.”
Prior to the opening of the country’s airports, the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Aviation ministry outlined measures that must be adhered to stop the importation of the deadly disease into the country.
As part of the measures, the mandatory test according to authorities will only take 30 minutes. Passengers were also to be given new face masks when they arrive.
At a press conference on August 31, 2020, the Managing Director of the Ghana Airports Company Limited outlined the new measures and disclosed the $150 price for the testing. The price he said was arrived at after rigorous negotiation with service providers.
“The original price quotation from the service provider started from $158, and he gave information to support that the test will cost $158 and on top of that, we could add anything that we wanted to add,” he disclosed.
Dr. Benard Okoe Boye, at the same press conference defended the cost of the test “nothing that it is more expensive than contracting Covid-19 itself”.
He further added that “the cost of the test will not put unnecessary difficulty or burden on the passenger. We looked at what is being charged across the globe so when you go to a place like Zimbabwe you pay about $210 for a test.
“In China, you pay about $150 for a test and they are even doing PCR which is a very good test that identifies the virus itself. But in China after paying $150 you have to wait for about 6 hours average before you get results.
“Also remember that anyone coming into Ghana must have a negative PCR test and on the average, in Europe, if you enter a lab to do that, it is about 100 euros.
“Here at the airport, we are interested in two things; the test must be very specific and sensitize which means it must tell us if you have the virus and if it says it’s negative then you pose no threat to Ghanaians.
“We were also interested in how long it takes to get the results. And with these two indicators, we now had to decide whether $150 dollars of having the two most important requirements met is reasonable or not.”
Due to the second wave hitting most European and African countries, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah hinted that the government may be forced to ban flight from certain countries because of the upsurge in the number of infections from such countries.