Ghana charges passengers US$150 for COVID-19 test as Egypt takes US$30

Kotoka International Airport Kotoka International Airport

Officials of the Noguchi Memorial Institute of Medical Research, have raised issues with the US$150 cost of the Coronavirus test at the Kotoka International Airport announced by the government, when it opened the facility to allow arrival and departure of people in and out of Ghana.

Dr. Kofi Bonney of Noguchi, suggested that the cost to a passenger is too excessive.

Interestingly, Egypt's Civil Aviation Authority has announced that effective September 1, 2020, all airports operating within Hurghada, Sharm el-Sheikh, Marsa Alam and Taba are to allow passengers to conduct a PCR analysis for 30 dollars upon their arrival.

But Aviation Minister, Joseph Kofi Addah, described the charge as bearable, and insisted that the $150 charge, would not be reviewed, despite the opposition.

Dr. Bonney, had noted that the $150 fee being borne by passengers, should have been "between $10 to about $20."

He believes the $150 charge may have been arrived at, following the consideration of administrative cost among other auxiliary items associated with the test.

"Maybe so many other things come into play… I'm sure they are charging administrative and other personal protective equipment and all that," Dr. Bonney explained.

Dr. Kofi Bonney revealed that about half of the antigen test to be conducted at the airport, may be inaccurate.

Antigen tests are immunoassays that detect the presence of a specific viral antigen, which implies current viral infection.

Government has indicated that each passenger will pay a $150 fee as the cost of the Covid-19 test. This move has also been challenged by the lead virologist at the institute.

"Scientifically with the PCR test, within 72 hours, it's enough. I don't know why we have to do an antigen test which is less sensitive upon arrival. If we look at the tests that have been done over the years, we have a varying sensitivity percentage between 34% to around 80%.

"So if you are looking at these figures that means about half of the people who will take anti-gen tests, the results may not be correct," he said.

But speaking on the same platform; PM Express on September 1, the Aviation Minister, said the data that informed government's decision on the cost came from the Noguchi Memorial Institute of Medical Research.

"All these numbers came from Noguchi experts advising us on what to do".

"To be very frank with you, it's already been decided and I'm not here to debate on the policy anyway," he said.

Source: The Herald