Thursday, 24 June

Don’t travel to COVID-19 hotspots – Gov’t to Ghanaians

Health News
Close to 800 people have died of the disease in Ghana

The government of Ghana through the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, in an advisory, has urged Ghanaians not to travel to COVID-19-ravaged countries.

The ministry said if the trips are non-essential, they could be cancelled or delayed due to the alarming rate of infection in Asia and South America.

According to the minister, it has outlined stipulated guidelines for essential travels to and from any of these countries.

The advisory said in addition to already existing COVID-19 protocols, all travelLers leaving or arriving in Ghana are to note that only test results or certificates bearing trusted travel or biomars codes will be considered valid.

Also, travellers are to sign up for accounts on trustedtravels.panabios.org with the same email address and mobile numbers provided to laboratories during testing.

“Travellers arriving Ghana are to use a tool made available through the UNDP-Supported Global Haven Partnership COVID-19 PCR test results certification verification”, the advisory said, adding: “All arriving passengers who test negative for COVID-19 at the airport are encouraged to self-isolate for ten days” while “all passengers arriving from designated COVID-19 hotspots and testing negative at the airport may be subjected to a repeat test on the third day of arrival at their cost”.

A few days ago, pressure group OccupyGhana suggested that the government of Ghana restrict travels to and from COVID-19 hotspots and also prosecute travellers found to have acquired fake test results.

In a statement expressing alarm about the high number of COVID-19-positive arrivals at the Kotoka International Airport, OccupyGhana said: “As a matter of urgency, we must identify the high-risk countries and restrict travel to and from them.”, adding: “Citizens and residents of Ghana may be allowed entry, only if they test negative at KIA and are mandatorily quarantined for at least 10 days at their own cost”
 
The civil society group also urged the government to provide incentives to hotels to accept passengers from high-risk countries for quarantine.

“Travellers must pay hotel quarantine bills in full, prior to travel”, the group proposed.
 
It also said: “Without exception, all travellers who test positive must be sent to a GHS-designated isolation facility as per our protocols for further clinical assessment and treatment. A negative PCR test must be repeated after Day 5. The passenger may be de-isolated following 2 negative tests”.

Additionally, it suggested the prosecution of “travellers who are proven to have flown in with forged PCR results”.
 
“It is our fervent hope that the authorities will consider these matters and accept these suggestions as we continue to battle this virus and protect one another from infections”, the group noted.

Frontiers Health Services, managers of Ghana’s COVID-19 airport testing programme, recently raised concerns about the high rate of positive cases arriving in the country at the airport.

The company, in a letter to the Managing Director of Ghana Airports Company Limited, Yaw Kwakwa, said on Saturday, 24 April 2021 that it recorded 75 positive cases, which is the highest daily number of positive COVID-19 cases at the airport.

This precedes the previous highest rate of 45 cases.

The company appealed to stakeholders to implement stringent measures on the quality of PCR results acceptable for entry into the country.

Read OccupyGhana’s full statement below: 

26th APRIL 2021
 
OCCUPYGHANA®️ PRESS STATEMENT
 
RISING POSITIVE COVID-19 CASES AMONGST INBOUND TRAVELLERS AT KIA
 
OccupyGhana®️ has read with concern reports from Frontiers Services Limited, the Covid-19 Antigen testing lab based at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA), about the sudden and alarming increase in positive cases arriving in the country over the past week.
 
According to a letter dated April 24, 2021, written by the lab to Ghana Airport Co Ltd., a record number of seventy-five (75) positive cases were detected on April 24, 2021, at the airport. This is a significant rise from the previous high of forty-five (45) positive cases on April 21, 2021.
 
With the devastating effects of the 2nd COVID-19 wave at the beginning of the year still fresh in our minds, we appeal to the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to leave no stone unturned in reducing the importation of positive cases. 
 
Judging by the terrible effects of the third wave of COVID -19 which has crippled health systems and led to the loss of thousands of lives in several countries, a third wave in Ghana with its new variants could be catastrophic.
 
Some of the problems we have identified are:
 
1.            Travellers arriving in the country from high-risk countries;
 
2.            Travellers arriving with fake PCR test results;
 
3.            Non-availability of quarantine facilities for large numbers of travellers;
 
4.            Hotels not willing to be used for quarantine purposes; and
 
5.            Some positive cases not willing to be isolated in GHS-designated isolation facilities.
 
Ghana’s pioneering introduction in August 2020 of compulsory antigen testing on arrival at KIA has without a doubt cut down the risk of importing new cases. We wish to make the following suggestions as an added level of precaution:
 
a.            As a matter of urgency, we must identify the high-risk countries and restrict travel to and from them. Citizens and residents of Ghana may be allowed entry, only if they test negative at KIA and are mandatorily quarantined for at least 10 days at their own cost;
 
b.           Provide incentives to hotels to accept passengers from high-risk countries for quarantine. Travellers must pay hotel quarantine bills in full, prior to travel;
 
c.            Without exception, all travellers who test positive must be sent to a GHS-designated isolation facility as per our protocols for further clinical assessment and treatment. A negative PCR test must be repeated after Day 5. The passenger may be de-isolated following 2 negative tests; and
 
d.            Prosecute travellers who are proven to have flown in with forged PCR results.
 
It is our fervent hope that the authorities will consider these matters and accept these suggestions as we continue to battle this virus and protect one another from infections.
 
Still in the service of God and Country
 
OccupyGhana®

 

 

Source: ClassFMonline.com