When Emirates Airlines resumed Accra-Dubai-Accra flights on Thursday 13th January 2022, the airline released a new set of UAE government mandated COVID-19 protocols for Ghanaian travellers.
The airline said if Dubai is a traveller’s final destination, it needs a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate with a QR code for a test performed at an approved facility within 48 hours of departure; validity should be calculated from the time the sample was taken.
The 48-hour PCR test, however, was limited to just five facilities: LEDing, Frontier, Airport Clinic, MDS-Lancet and Akai House Clinic.
Passengers are also required to take another test at Kotoka International Airport six (6) hours before departure and present the results of the rapid or real-time PCR.
The 6-hour pre-departure test must be performed at only two labs within the Kotoka International Airport enclave: LEDing and Frontier.
Missing from the list are two prestigious health institutions: the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR), a semi-autonomous institute of the University of Ghana and the leading center for biomedical research in Ghana, and the Nyaho Medical Center.
The airline’s decision to suspend scheduled passenger service to and from Kotoka International Airport was largely due to the number of Ghanaian travelers showing negative signs COVID-19 PCR test for boarding only to test positive after arriving in Dubai.
According to AviationGhana sources, the matter has been carefully scrutinized and the five selected labs come out unblemished in their approach and credibility of the results.
The Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) has been instrumental in finding a suitable on-arrival testing solution that has allowed Kotoka International Airport to reopen for scheduled passenger flights on September 1, 2020.
Noguchi also directed COVID-19 PCR testing for travelers as it has become a key requirement for travel. Consequently, questions have been raised as to why the facility is not on the UAE’s list of approved facilities for PCR testing prior to travel.