Ghana to fine airlines $3,500 for each unvaccinated passenger

Ghana has said it will fine airlines $3,500 for each passenger who arrives in the capital’s international airport without being fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Under new measures taking effect on Wednesday, air carriers will also be penalized the same amount for travelers who did not fill out a health declaration form before boarding their flight to Kotoka International Airport in Accra, the state-owned Ghana Airport Company said.

While Ghanaians who fly in without meeting the requirement will be allowed to enter the country and undergo a 14-day quarantine, foreigners may be refused entry, the airport authority said.

The measures are just the latest taken by Ghana, which has introduced some of the strictest coronavirus-related restrictions in West Africa.

The new penalties come a day after the country began requiring all passengers over the age of 18 to provide evidence of full vaccination against COVID-19, saying that about 60 percent of the total new cases recorded in the country had come from the airport during a recent two-week period.

“The current increase in cases together with the detection of the Omicron variant among international arrivals and the expected increase during the festive season calls for urgent actions to prevent a major surge in COVID-19 cases in Ghana,” the Ghana Health Service said last week in announcing its decision.

Ghana, with about 31 million people, has one of the best COVID-19 testing programmes in the region. It has had 132,000 confirmed cases and 1,243 deaths since the pandemic began.

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