The Ghana Health Service, has reviewed the COVID-19 protocols for international travelers following the emergence of the Omicron variant.
According to GHS, these protocols have also been reviewed due to an anticipated increase in international arrivals during the festive season.
In a statement by the Health Service, it averred that there had been a decline in the number of cases in Ghana over the past two months until the global picture of COVID-19 changed since early November 2021 after the omicron variant emerged. It noted that globally, several countries are experiencing their fourth wave.
“A number of travelers from these countries come to Ghana and this is expected to increase during the festive season. This current surge in COVID cases is being reflected at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA)”.GHS
The Ghana Health Service disclosed that in November 2020, 168 cases were detected compared to 241 cases in November 2021, denoting an increase of over 40%. It stated that it has since been recording an average of 20 positive cases a day at KIA.
“For these positive cases, there is a significant difference in the percentage of COVID-19 infection based on vaccination status recorded at KIA. Available data from KIA, show that a COVID-19 positive person is three times more likely to be vaccinated”.GHS
34 Omicron cases recorded
Ghana Health Service indicated that Ghana recently recorded 34 cases of the new Omicron variant, but the Ghana Health Service says it has not yet recorded community transmission of the variant.
“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 airport account for about 60% of the total cases recorded in the country”.GHS
According to the Service, the current increase in cases together with the detection of the Omicron variant among international arrivals and the expected increase during the festive season calls for urgent actions to prevent a major surge in COVID-19 cases in Ghana.
In order to control the spread of the disease, the GHS in the statement issued the following directives effective midnight of December 12, 2021 which posited that all persons 18 years and above arriving in Ghana will be required to provide evidence of full vaccination for a COVID-19 vaccine.
It also added that all unvaccinated Ghanaians and residents of Ghana who are currently outside the country and intend to return within 14 days from the midnight of 12th December, 2021, are exempted. However, they would be vaccinated on arrival at the airport.
“All Ghanaians travelling out of the country are to be fully vaccinated effective midnight 12th December 2021.”GHS
GHS further noted that other arrival requirements remain unchanged and as such passengers must comply.
“The 72-hour Negative PCR test requirement prior to travel, completion of the Health Declaration Form and all persons who arrive in Ghana will undergo Antigen test”.GHS