Coronavirus: Ghana Airport staff hesitant to attend to passengers from affected countries

The staff of the Ghana Airport Company and workers of other entities at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) are shying away from passengers from coming from countries that have recorded cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

A health worker checks temperature of traveller as part of Coronavirus screening procedure at the Kotoka International Airport

A source told B&FT that the staff at Ghana’s only international airport are shying away from searching passengers from Ethiopian and Emirates Airlines; the two major airlines that transit passengers from China to Ghana.

The fear at the airport grew when Nigeria recorded its first case on Friday (February 28, 2020).

The staff at the airport are from the Ghana Airport Company, Civil Aviation Authority, Customs Excise, and Preventive Service and the Immigration Service.

The staff of the airport said they are uncomfortable with the set up at the airport to deal with matters concerning COVID-19 which is spreading from other continents to Africa.

The source added that they do not want to engage any flight from Nigeria. “We know that we are not safe even though we get the assurance from our bosses. We know that some of our bosses don’t even trust what they are telling us and they won’t even want to be in our shoes.”

“This is what we do for a living and we cannot go home just because of the coronavirus news. We just want to see more changes here at the airport and more health personnel to enhance assurance. We were lucky with Ebola and we pray we are lucky with this too,” the source who pleaded for anonymity added.

Loose scrutiny at KIA

There are reports suggesting that scrutiny at the airport is losses after some students from China said they were loosely scrutinized when returning to Ghana.

However, Port Health Authorities have refuted the claim saying the questionnaire the students filled were Health Declaration Forms which was a mandatory measure recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The authorities indicated that thermal scanners have been installed at the entry points to screen travellers and monitor their temperatures. Anyone with an unreasonable temperature is sent to the Ridge Hospital for further examination.

The Ministry of Health has also designated the Ridge Hospital (Greater Accra Regional Hospital) and Tema General Hospital as initial case management centres in Accra to deal with a case of infection.

The government has also allocated GH¢2.5 million as a start-up fund to fight coronavirus.

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