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Scrap ‘fleecing’ PCR tests or we picket KIA – Minority

The Minority in Parliament is planning to picket the Kotoka International Airport if the government does not stop what the Caucus has described as “fleecing” COVID tests at the airport.

Speaking on the government’s hints at opening the country’s land borders which have remained closed for the past two years since the pandemic broke, the Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of parliament, Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, said on Wednesday, 23 March 2022: “Inasmuch as I welcome this development, it is inadequate”.

“We want to see a complete reversal; a complete rollback”, he said.

“We want to serve notice that if by next week, the government does not reverse the fees”, then the Caucus will take a “series of actions including public action, public manifestation and picketing at the airport until that fleecing going on at the airport is reversed”.

The government engaged Frontiers Healthcare Solution Services Limited to conduct the rapid COVID-19 tests at KIA following the reopening of the airport to international passenger flights in September 2020.

The 30-minute PCR COVID-19 test initially attracted a $150 fee but was subsequently reviewed.

While the amount was maintained for non-ECOWAS citizens, those from any of the West African countries were to pay $50 for such services at Kotoka International Airport.

A few days ago, former President John Mahama has said “it is an inconvenience, a financial burden and actually unfair to compel our citizens, who, we encouraged to take COVID-19 vaccinations, with some taking the boosters, to pay as much as £90 to a foreign clinic for a PCR test before they are allowed to board flights coming back home”.

“And even more ridiculous, they must book another $50 PCR test to be conducted on arrival in Accra”, he said in a Facebook post on Saturday, 19 March 2022.

Sharing his own disconcerting experience during a recent travel to the UK, Mr Mahama said: “The UK government considers the Ghanaian COVID-19 vaccination card internationally accepted and allows entry once you have the card without any testing”.

“It is a most unfortunate situation that Ghanaians who have valid vaccination certificates cannot board flights back home without a £90 PCR test, and an additional US$50 PCR test booking in Accra”, he said, adding: “The government must stop the US$50 compulsory PCR test for travellers who have been vaccinated” and “must also stop the demand for originating PCR tests before the same category of travellers are allowed to board flights to Ghana”.

He said the “reason for UK rolling back its COVID-19 restrictions is that deaths are down and severe cases requiring intensive care are down, and besides they believe it’s time to learn to live with COVID”.

“I think it is time for us in Ghana to do same”.

Read Mr Mahama’s full article below:

I travelled last month to London on British Airways. I was pleasantly surprised when I was informed that I did not require a COVID-19 PCR test to board the flight.

While I was still required to fill [out] a locator form, no further tests were required of me for the 12 days I stayed in the UK.

Imagine my shock when British Airways informed me that I would be required to take a PCR test before I am allowed to board my return flight home.

They explained that this is because of regulations in Ghana.

It cost £90 to have the test done.

I was also informed that I would not be checked in for the flight back unless I filled [out] an online form and paid a fee of $50.

From my recent experience with PCR testing and COVID regulations at our airport, I think it is time for the government to review the procedures and protocols.

It is an inconvenience, a financial burden and actually unfair to compel our citizens, who we encouraged to take COVID-19 vaccinations, with some taking the boosters, to pay as much as £90 to a foreign clinic for a PCR test before they are allowed to board flights coming back home.

And even more ridiculous, they must book another $50 PCR test to be conducted on arrival in Accra.

The UK government considers the Ghanaian COVID-19 vaccination card internationally accepted and allows entry once you have the card without any testing.

It is a most unfortunate situation that Ghanaians who have valid vaccination certificates cannot board flights back home without a £90 PCR test, and an additional US$50 PCR test booking in Accra.

Government must stop the US$50 compulsory PCR test for travellers who have been vaccinated.

And must also stop the demand for originating PCR tests before the same category of travellers are allowed to board flights to Ghana.

The reason for the UK rolling back its COVID-19 restrictions is that deaths are down and severe cases requiring intensive care are down, and besides, they believe it’s time to learn to live with COVID.

I think it is time for us in Ghana to do same.

The long border closures have devastated the economy of our border communities.

The government’s announcement that it is deliberating at Cabinet about a possible opening of our land borders is long overdue.

Let’s open the land borders now!

Source: Classfmonline.com

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