File: A health worker checks the temperature of a traveller as part of the coronavirus screening procedure at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra.

Government has re-opened the Kotoka International Airport to international passenger traffic, after five months of closure.

The airport was closed to international passenger traffic about five months ago as part of restrictions to curb the spread of the novel 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 to enable the isolation of passengers who might arrive in the country with the novel coronavirus.

“I am glad to announce that KIA will reopen and resume operations from Tuesday, September 1, 2020. This decision has been communicated to international airlines across the world. After weeks of thorough work, I am satisfied that it is safe to do so,” he said.

He said passengers must be in possession of negative Covid-19 test result and test should have been done not more than 72 hours before the scheduled time of the flight.

Two weeks ago when he addressed the nation, the President said there were ongoing stakeholders engagements on measures to be put in place to assure a safe re-opening of the country’ borders.

“It has been well-established that the very first cases of Covid-19 in Ghana were imported into our shores. We are determined to make sure this scenario does not recur.

“The commitment to ensuring that the gradual easing of restrictions, including the reopening of our airports, does not lead to the importation or resurgence of the virus into our country, is firmly in place,” he said.

President Akufo-Addo announced measures that have been taken and duly communicated to airlines wishing to resume flights to Ghana.

The measures include:

  1. any passenger arriving in Ghana must be in possession of a negative Covid-19 PCR test result from an accredited laboratory in the country of origin. The test should have been done not more than 72 hours before the scheduled departure from the country of origin. All airlines have been instructed to ensure compliance with this directive for all passengers wishing to travel to Ghana, and those airlines who fail in this regard will be duly sanctioned;
  2. disembarking passengers must do so wearing face masks;
  3. upon disembarking from the aeroplane, each passenger will undergo a mandatory Covid-19 test at the airport terminal, at a fee to be borne by the passenger. The test result will be available within 30 minutes;
  4. children under the ages of five will not be required to undergo testing at the airport
  5. passengers, who test positive for Covid-19, will be handled by the health authorities for further clinical assessment and management;
  6. passengers, who test negative, can, thereupon, enter Ghana to go about their lawful activities, and will be advised to continue to observe Covid-19 safety precautions during their stay in Ghana.

The Ministries of Information, Health and Aviation, and their respective agencies- the Ghana Health Service, the Ghana Airports Co. Ltd., and the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority – will spell out in further detail the protocols surrounding the re-opening of our international airport, and the procedures to be adhered to by passengers arriving in Ghana at the Covid-19 media briefing on, Monday, August 31.

“For the avoidance of doubt, our borders, by land and sea, will continue to remain closed to human traffic until further notice,” he said.