Deputy Health Minister Dr Bernard Okoe Boye has defended government’s decision to charge arriving passengers at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) $150 for Covid-19 test.

His strong defence comes after the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC’s) Dr Edward Omane Boamah criticised government for the $150 charge for passengers, accusing it of attempting to cash in on the pandemic.

In a tweet, he said “why charge 150 dollars for PCR at the airport when it costs below $100. Don’t cash in on Covid-19”.

But addressing the media at the Airport Monday, Dr Okoe Boye said government assessed the global situation before arriving at the cost.

He cited countries like Zimbabwe, Togo, Benin and Nigeria where arriving passengers have to pay higher than the $150 government has decided on.

“So with all these considerations, remember that anyone coming to Ghana must have a negative PCR test,” he stated.

Earlier today, government officials have been outlining new stringent measures that will be put in place to keep the virus at bay as Ghana prepares to re-open the Kotoka International Airport to international passenger trafficon Tuesday, September 1.

The airport was shut down about five months ago following closure of the country’s borders to halt the importation of the novel disease caused by coronavirus.

Also at the briefing the Ghana Health Service Director-General, Dr Patrick Kuma Aboagye highlighted the measures that will be implemented when the airport officially starts operating.

“There is a digitise health declaration form that people can fill, so passengers can complete that in the plane before they arrive at the airport. This will tell us [health workers] the risk level for us to know how to properly access it.

“The mandatory Covid-19 test on arrival as President said will also be done and by the time you go through all of that and get down to the Immigration your results will be out for them to also process you and allow you in [the country].

He noted that the flight crew will not be subjected to compulsory testing unless they are entering the country. For those who test positive for COvid-19,

Dr Kuma Aboagye said, “the port health will take over to assist you through the immigration so as to prevent further contamination.

“There will be a holding room and after that, they will all be sent to Ga East hospital for retrial after which the necessary protocols whether it is treatment, isolation etc will take place.”