April 24, 2021 and I have just arrived in Accra, Ghana after a long, long trip. This was a long, long trip. It was a long trip because my initial flight from NY JFK airport to Accra was cancelled after a long delay, and I will talk about that another time. So I had to spend the night in NY and the flight was rescheduled to 7:00 pm the next day.
There was a reason I flew Delta Airlines. Well, number one, I like Delta as my favorite airline for travel to Ghana, and I wanted to have a direct flight so I could avoid all the issues of Europe with their on and off again shutdown due to Covid-19 variants and surges and transiting through such a major area in an effort to minimize exposure because this is still during a Pandemic and the time of Covid-19.
Anyway, so I arrived here. It’s always good to be back. It’s almost as if I never left. I was so exhausted by time I got here that all I could do was eat and sleep after drinking one and a half glasses of wine … in the morning! I slept for three and a half hours straight. Something I never do in the day time. So, Accra is Accra. Glad to be here.
What I want to share with you today is about the airport safety measures in place on arrival in Ghana. I continue to be impressed by the way Ghana has responded during the pandemic as it relates to travel.
When the Pandemic really began, I was in Nigeria and in Ghana and the safety measures that were evident at Murtala Mohammed international Airport in Lagos and Kotoka International Airport in Accra, were amazing compared to what was going on in the USA at the same time.
I was so shocked when I left Ghana at the end of March last year aboard an evacuation flight operated by Ethiopia Airways, and where all safety measures and protocols were in place, only to arrive in Washington D.C., I believe it was, and confronted with a lack of social distancing at the airport, especially in light of surging Coronavirus infections.
The safety measures firmly in place at Kotoka International Airport is impressive. Everything is so orderly. Even before you leave your country of origin, you’ll have to fill out some information online, such as a Ghana Health Declaration form; you’ll have to take the Covid-19-PCR test and have had a negative result no earlier than 72 hours before your date of departure, (without this, you won’t be allowed to board your flight), and you will also have to pre-pay online for a Covid-19 test upon arrival in Ghana ($150).
So all your information is in the system before your arrive. Upon arrival, your temperature is taken and the Covid test administered. This all happens before you even get to the immigration officials. But at each step of the way you are met with, and directed by courteous, professional and welcoming airport personnel. It felt very reassuring to know that everything was working smoothly and seamlessly to keep everyone safe.
After your test, you are directed to the immigration counter and your passport, visas and any other documents are checked and then you are free to head over to the luggage belt to retrieve your bags. The last stop is to wait for the results of your Covid test. I waited for 15 minutes. It was negative. If it had been positive, I would have had to quarantine somewhere.
Armed with my negative Covid test result, I answered one last question posed by a customs official, “Madam, what do you have in this bag?” I told him, I only my clothes and some books, and he said, okay. And that was it, I exited the terminal and went in search of a taxi, happy to be back in Ghana!
So rest assured. Covid safety measures are firmly in place at Kotoka International Airport, Accra, Ghana!