Ghana to Fine Airlines $3,500 for Unvaccinated Passengers

Ghana will fine airlines $3,500 for each passenger who arrives in the West African country without being fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the latest measure taken by the country with some of the strictest restrictions in the region.

Airlines also will be penalized the same amount for passengers who did not fill out a health declaration form before boarding their flight to Kotoka International Airport, the state-owned Ghana Airport Company announced Monday.

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 announced.

The new penalties come a day after Ghana began requiring all passengers over the age of 18 to provide evidence of full vaccination against the virus, saying that about 60% 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 programs in West Africa and has had 132,000 confirmed cases and 1,243 deaths since the pandemic began.

– Francis Kokutse, AP

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