The Bureau of Public Safety (BPS) writes to draw your attention to a direct contravention of the World Health Organization’s International Health Regulations (IHR) by the Government of Ghana requiring your immediate attention.
Following the lifting of the ban on air travel by the Government of Ghana on 1st September, 2020, the Ministry of Health, in conjunction with the Ghana Health Service, has instituted a $150 mandatory COVID-19 test fee to be levied on travelers upon their disembarkation at the Kotoka International Airport. This is, apparently, part of the Government’s measures to stop the international spread of the novel corona virus.
As a socially engaged and committed organization, the BPS wholeheartedly welcomes efforts to stop the spread of the novel corona virus. However, we find the Government’s decision to mandatorily levy all travelers a $150 USD testing fee a grave violation of Part VII of the International Health Regulations (2005), which states, inter alia, that ‘Except for travelers seeking temporary or permanent residence, no charge shall be made by a State Party for any medical examination provided for in the IHR, or any supplementary examination which may be required by that State Party to ascertain the health status of the traveler examined for the protection of public health.’ (Article 40 Para 1, & 1(a))
The BPS therefore wish to request your outfit to:
1. Withdraw with immediate effect the USD 150 testing fee per traveler completely,
2. Maintain the 72-hour prior-take-off/travel testing requirement, and
3. Enforce a 14-day mandatory self-isolation regime for passengers arriving without a PCR test taken within the last 72 hours
The BPS herewith call on your high office to be guided by the purpose and scope of the IHR (2005) which are “to prevent, protect against, control and provide a public health response to the international spread of disease in ways that are commensurate with and restricted to public health risks, and which avoid unnecessary interference with international traffic and trade.”
We further wish to call upon the Director-General of the World Health Organization to call all State Parties signed on to the IHR (2005) who are in violation of this regulation, to immediately implement fully the International Health Regulations (2005), in accordance with the purpose and scope set out in Article 2 and the principles embodied in Article 3. Indeed, we are not in normal times and thus, a watchful and a responsive World Health Organization is just what the world, especially middle income and poor countries, need at this time.