The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has written to the management of the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) detailing safety protocols for the resumption of international air travel amidst the COVID-19 outbreak.
Authorities of the health management body say they have identified overcrowding as one of the major factors contributing to the spread of the virus hence the instituted measures to stem the rate of infection during the easing of COVID-19 restrictions on flight travel.
The GHS says in view of this, the Ghana Airports Company Limited must demonstrate it would not be a place for the transmission of the virus.
Key amongst the four measures is for the airport management to ensure that there is no form of congestion at the facility while ensuring strict adherence to social distancing and compulsory wearing of face masks protocols.
Below are the measures the GHS has ordered KIA to put in place:
1. Ensure there is no congestion at all sections of the airport (arrival, departure and environs) to fail adherence to social distancing protocols.
2. Compulsory mask wearing for all passengers (both arriving and departing) as well as staff
3. Temperature monitoring to continue at both arrival and departure terminals
4. Ensure social distancing and compulsory mask-wearing at the car parks and in front of all terminals.
Ghana Health Service is hopeful should these measures be operationalized and strictly adhered to, the potential risk of COVID-19 transmission at the Kotoka International Airport as a result of the reopening of the country’s air border will be minimal.
It has also assured the airport management of its highest form of cooperation to “develop the enabling protocols for ensuring passengers and staff safety.”
Recently, President Akufo-Addo hinted the country is preparing to reopen its airports to human traffic.
According to the president, he has instructed the Ministry of Aviation, the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority and the Ghana Airports Company Limited to work with the Ministry of Health and its agencies, to ascertain the country’s readiness to reopen the airport.
Already, the GHS has said it was engaging 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.
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 subsidized the cost of travel and quarantine.