Authorities in Ghana have announced it will fine airlines $3,500 for each passenger who arrives in the capital’s international airport without being fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
In the country’s updated Covid-19 prevention measures, airlines would also be penalised the same amount for travellers who did not fill out a health declaration form before boarding their flight to Kotoka International Airport in Accra, the state-owned Ghana Airport Company said.
Following a rise in covid-19 infections in Ghana, the West African country with the strictest coronavirus-related restrictions, shared that 60% of its total new cases had come from the airport during a recent two-week period.
“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,” the Ghana Health Service said last week in announcing its decision.
The airport authority also added that foreigners might be refused entry while Ghanaians who fly in without meeting the requirement will be allowed to enter the country and undergo a 14-day quarantine.
Ghana, with about 31 million people, has one of the best COVID-19 testing programmes in the region. It has had 132,000 confirmed cases and 1,243 deaths since the pandemic began.
According to data compiled by the Reuters news agency, slightly more than five percent of the country’s population has so far been vaccinated.
Authorities this month launched an enormous vaccination drive ahead of the enforcement from January 22 of a vaccine mandate for targeted groups, including government employees, health workers and students. The government plans to recruit more health workers to be able to double daily inoculation from 140,000.