Kotoka International Airport.
The counting of the mandatory COVID-19 results for airline passengers to Ghana from the day the sample was taken, especially for those from the US, has caused some people to be stranded at airports whilst others are facing financial problems.
One traveller, Maxwell Akornor said “counting the 72 hours from the day the sample was taken is killing us. It takes about five days for the result to be issued as the laboratories claim they have high volumes to take care of, and by the time you get your results, in some cases, the 72 hours is past and the airlines will not allow you to travel.”
He said “once you miss your flight, you have to pay a penalty to the airline and then go for another test and if you are not careful, you face the same problem.”
Another traveller, Sylvia Dede said the test results, though is to ensure that no one enters the country with the COVID-19, the government must look at how the airlines calculate the days for travellers.
“If it takes five days or more for your results to be delivered to you, it does not make sense that the 72 days is calculated from the day that the sample was taken.”
Dede who said, she had to make a transit in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on her way to Ghana, nearly got stranded because the test results she was carrying had just 24 hours to expire. For this reason, l had to take another test.”
She has therefore suggested that, some arrangement must be made with the airlines to understand how to calculate the 72 hours on the test results. Dede said, there are some Ghanaians who booked their flights and are waiting for their test results that do not come early enough to make their journey and for this reason, they are forced to change their flights and the airlines take money for that.
“There are some people who are transiting in countries where they don’t have visas to be allowed out of the airports and do not even have extra money to pay for new tests and are forced to sleep at airports,” she said.
Dede said, there have been instances where families who took the tests on the same day in order to travel together, are not able to get the tests on the same day, and this has come to create trouble in travel arrangements.
“Imagine being stuck with no-where to go, and also in a country where the test is not cheap,” she said, and wondered why the rapid test on arrival is being done on arrival but, the government does not want to allow the rapid test for entry into Ghana.
Dede therefore pleaded with the government to extend the testing days from 1-3 days before traveling to 1-5 so that, the day the sample was taken does not affect the 72 hours mandatory test results.
“It’s sad to see passengers traveling to their own country not being able to travel, especially elderly passengers, those traveling with little children and disabled passengers. In some instances, they people are forced to incur hotel bills,” she said.