Bureau of Public Safety Calls for Withdrawal of Mandatory $150 Covid-19 Test Charge

The Bureau of Public Safety has opined that the mandatory $150 Covid-19 test fee charged passengers upon arriving in Ghana, contravenes Part VII of the International Health Regulations (2005) and therefore must be withdrawn by the government.

Bureau of Public Safety Calls for Withdrawal of Mandatory $150 Covid-19 Test Charge

The Bureau of Public Safety (BPS) has called for an immediate withdrawal of the $150 Covid-19 test fee, levied passengers arriving in the country.

According to the Bureau in a letter to the Minister of Health, Dr. Oko Boye on Wednesday, it said it welcomed the efforts by the government to stop the spread of Covid-19 but could not comprehend the reasons behind the mandatory charge, since the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) opened to international traffic on Tuesday, September 1, 2020.

Executive Secretary, Nana Yaw Akwada opined that the decision was in breach of Part VII of the International Health Regulations (2005).

“As a socially engaged and committed organization, the BPS wholeheartedly welcomes efforts to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. However, we find the government’s decision to mandatorily levy all travelers a $150 USD testing fee a grave violation of  Part VII of the International Health Regulations (2005), which states, inter alia, that *‘Except for travelers seeking temporary or permanent residence, no charge shall be made by a State Party for any medical examination provided for in the IHR, or any supplementary examination which may be required by that State Party to ascertain the health status of the traveler examined for the protection of public health.’ (Article 40 Para 1, & 1(a) *”

“The BPS herewith call on your high office to be guided by the purpose and scope of the IHR (2005) which are “to prevent, protect against, control and provide a public health response to the international spread of disease in ways that are commensurate with and restricted to public health risks, and which avoid unnecessary interference with international traffic and trade,” the letter posited.

The organization has meanwhile requested for the maintaining of the 72-hour prior-take-off/travel testing requirement and the enforcing of a 14-day mandatory self-isolation regime for passengers arriving without a PCR test to be taken within the last 72 hours

The letter further called on the Director-General of the World Health Organization to call all State Parties signed on to the IHR (2005) who are in violation of this regulation, to immediately implement fully the International Health Regulations (2005), in accordance with the purpose and scope set out in Article 2 and the principles embodied in Article 3.

The BPS intimated finally, that a watchful and a responsive World Health Organization is just what the world, especially middle income and poor countries, needed at this abnormal period.

The letter was duly copied to the Country Director of the World Health Organization, and the Chairman of Parliament’s Select on Health, Dr Kwabena Twum-Nuamah (Hon.)