COVID-19: ‘$150 fee for PCR test at airport reasonable’ – Okoe Boye
Management of the Ghana Airport Company says passengers arriving in Ghana will pay a $150 fee for a 30-minute PCR COVID-19 test.
The Managing Director of Ghana Airport Company Limited, Yaw Kwakwa made this known at a press briefing at the Kotoka International Airport on Monday, August 31, 2020.
The Kotoka International Airport is set to reopen on September 1, 2020, to international passenger traffic, five months after closure as part of restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Delivering his 16th address to the nation since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, President Akufo-Addo announced that government has decided to re-open the airport because public health officials can now conduct rapid tests within 30 minutes to enable the isolation of passengers who might arrive in the country with the novel coronavirus.
A Deputy Health Minister, Dr. Bernard Okoe Boye who explained the-150-dollar fee noted that the fee is reasonable compared with global charges.
“As a ministry and a government who are stakeholders in the management of COVID-19, we were very much interested in the cost of the test. We wanted to make sure that the cost of the test will not put an unnecessary burden on the passenger. So we quickly looked at what is being charged across the globe. When you go to a place like Zimbabwe you will pay about $210 for the test. In China, you will pay about $150 for the test. In Togo and Benin you will pay about 150 euros and in Nigeria, it is 130 dollars but you will have to go to a hotel and lodge till the results are ready. With the turn around time and accuracy of the test assured, we had to decide whether the $150 was enough to cover all the expenses. We finally agreed to peg it at that for now.”
He also explained that the new arrangement was very prudent as compared to the previous arrangement where travellers had to pay for accommodation for two weeks to enable them quarantine for the period while awaiting their results.
Meanwhile, the Ghana Airport Company is expecting to receive a total of 1200 passengers within its peak period after reopening.
This raises the question of how the company will deal with the overflow of passengers and accurate and swift COVID-19 testing.
The Managing Director of Ghana Airport Company Limited, Yaw Kwakwa allaying such fears, noted that 480 tests could be conducted within 15 minutes.
He also assured that his outfit that it has the capacity for any overflow of passengers.
“Within 15 minutes we can test about 480 people. So taking into consideration all the odds of the maximum number of passengers we can have at a time and other factors, we have more than enough capacity.”