Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye
The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has lifted the COVID-19 restrictions placed on travellers following the World Health Organisation (WHO) announcement that COVID-19 is no longer a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).
With the lifting of the ban, pre-departure testing and test at all points of entry are no more a requirement for all passengers effective May 20, 2023.
Also, COVID-19 Health Declaration form for international travellers has been suspended, the GHS said in a statement signed by its Director General, Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye.
He indicated that globally, there are decreasing numbers of deaths and hospitalisations, with high levels of population immunity against SARS-CoV-2.
Dr. Kuma-Aboagye said there have been a sustained decline of COVID-19 cases in the country over the past five months.
He said as at May 15, 2023, there were only 18 active cases, none of which is severe or critical, with only one COVID-19 death in 2023 so far.
“As of May 10, 2023, more than 13.5 million persons had received at least a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine while 10.5 million persons were fully vaccinated. Additionally, 4.5 million persons have taken vaccine boosters,” he said.
Dr. Kuma-Aboagye said for constant vigilance and protection of persons from COVID-19 infections, COVID-19 vaccination drive would continue.
“Persons with symptoms of fever, cough and sore throat would be tested for both Flu and COVID-19 at our sentinel sites across all 16 regions.
“Surveillance will continue to help us identify any new COVID-19 variants of concern,” he added.
The public have been advised to maintain general safety measures like hand washing with soap and running water or use of alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
“Persons with complaints of fever, cough and sore throat should report to the nearest health facility for management. Persons who test positive to COVID-19 are to be managed with existing protocols,” Dr. Kuma-Aboagye said.
The GHS Director General said the country has had outbreaks of Marburg Virus Disease, Lassa Fever, Monkey Pox, Measles and Yellow Fever since the declaration of COVID-19 as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), emphasising that the health systems in the country have maintained sufficient capacity in the midst of these threats.
“The Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service, with support of our partners, will continue to ensure operational readiness and flexibility to respond during surges of COVID-19, while maintaining other essential health services and preparing for the emergence of new variants with increased severity or capacity,” he assured.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri