Ghana has started fining airlines that fly into the country, unvaccinated passengers, as part of measures to enforce its earlier revised protocols for travelers.
Last week Ghana said it will demand full vaccination from all international travellers effective December 12, 2021.
The country’s Health Service said that it had recorded about 40 percent increase in covid-19 cases at its main airport, the Kotoka International Airport compared with same period last year.
Statistics from the GHS also showed that an average of 20 positive cases of covid-19 are being confirmed at the airport daily with majority of the people being unvaccinated.
“The new variant, Omicron which is said to be more transmissible has been detected at our airport. Of the 34 cases detected, 75% of them were unvaccinated. Over the last two weeks, cases from airports account for about 60% of the total cases recorded in the country.
The health service said in a statement that it feared that the cases will increase during the Christmas and New Year festivities as 34 cases of the omicron variant have also been confirmed.
As part of the revised protocols, all passengers who are 18 years must show proof of full vaccination before arriving on Ghana.
All passengers traveling out of Ghana must also be fully vaccinated. This means that passengers must show proof of taking full doses of any of the approved vaccines.
All Ghanaians and other residents who arrive in Ghana unvaccinated will be vaccinated at the airport.
Since the protocol became effective, there have been over 100 jabs administered to travelers who arrive in the country.
Ghana’s President said in a televised speech on Wednesday evening that “Communications have been duly sent to all airlines flying into Ghana of the imposition of a three thousand, five hundred dollars (US$3,500) fine for each unvaccinated passenger that is allowed to board a flight into the country.”
He defended the decision to enforce these protocols saying “These are stringent measures, I know, but the benefits far outweigh the negatives. As your President, it is my duty to protect lives and livelihoods. The ravages of COVID-19 have been devastating on our economy, and I am determined to return us to our normal way of life as quickly as possible, by helping to defeat the pandemic.”
According to the Ghana Health Service some arrival requirements remain unchanged and those include the 72-hour negative PCR test required prior to travel; completion of the health declaration form, and the antigen test required to be taken by all persons who arrive in Ghana.