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Ghana: Press zooms in on reduction of COVID-19 test to $50 for ECOWAS citizens, others

The announcement by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of the reduction of the cost of COVID-19 test at the Kotoka…

The announcement by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of the reduction of the cost of COVID-19 test at the Kotoka International Airport from $150 to $50 for ECOWAS citizens dominates the headlines of Ghanaian press on Monday.The Graphic reports that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has directed that the cost of COVID-19 antigen test at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) be reduced to $50 from $150 for ECOWAS citizens.

Non ECOWAS citizens will continue to pay $150 for the test at the airport.

The reduction in the cost is in response with the protocols of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) that require member states to review and cap the cost of COVID-19 test at $50 at various countries’ borders.

At the 58th Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS held on January 23, 2021, and chaired by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the performance of member states in the pandemic fight were reviewed.

During this review, the harmonization of cross-border movement of persons and goods was approved and as part of this approval, it was agreed that PCR testing for travel within the sub-region will be capped at a maximum of $50.

The Minister of Health-designate, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, who disclosed this on the floor of Parliament last Friday, however, stopped short of disclosing when exactly the reduction in the cost of antigen test would take effect.

The newspaper says that the Government of Ghana last week started meetings with vaccine manufacturers in the country to see the possibility of manufacturing COVID-19 vaccines locally.

The Minister of Health designate, Mr. Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, who made this known in Parliament on Friday, January 29, 2021, disclosed that the government over the past three days had been meeting with the manufacturers.

He did inform Parliament that the time for manufacturing of local vaccines was now.

“We are doing quantification of numbers and we are looking at sources of funding to be able to do what will bring us the vaccines as quickly as possible,” he assured.

Mr. Agyeman-Manu, who is MP for Dormaa Central, acknowledged that the spread of the viral disease had become worse as transmissibility was far bigger than before in the wake of detection of new variance in Ghana.

He also said the severity of illness was becoming worrisome and called on all citizens and transport unions to continue to compliment the government’s effort to curb the spread.

The Graphic also reports that President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has re-imposed restrictions on some daily routines, following the wave of upsurge in COVID-19 cases.

Until further notice, therefore, funerals, weddings, concerts, theatrical performances and parties are banned.

Private burials, with no more than 25 people, could take place, but with strict enforcement of the social distancing, hygiene and mask-wearing protocols, the President said Sunday in his 23rd update on the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said the imposition of restrictions on some daily routines in the past helped in reducing the rate of infection in the country, noting that with the numbers surging, the government had no choice but to reintroduce some of those measures in order to help save the situation.

“So, Fellow Ghanaians, until further notice, funerals, weddings, concerts, theatrical performances and parties are banned.

“Private burials, with no more than 25 people, can take place, with the enforcement of the social distancing, hygiene and mask-wearing protocols,” he said, after giving a grim update on the rising number of cases of the infection.

The President started his broadcast at exactly 8 p.m. last night with the stark facts on Ghana’s COVID-19 situation to drum home the need for the raft of rehashed measures to contain the resurgence.

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