Coronavirus: A tale of travel restrictions 

After months of lockdowns, countries are cautiously starting to ease travel restrictions put in place to stop the spread of the virus

Since the sudden easing of a three-week lockdown in Ghana’s two major cities, Accra and Kumasi, daily life has gradually returned to normal.

The subsequent opening of the Kotoka International Airport has given a huge sigh of relief to the travelling public. 

Many wondered how those who were stranded in the country during the closure of Ghana’s airport survived throughout the period. 

There are many tales as to how coronavirus restrictions had impacted on the lives of families and brought hardships to many.

In the epidemic stages of the virus, when many deaths were being recorded daily in Italy and China, Ghana and several countries around the world went through months of lockdown; closing up their borders to traffic on air, land and sea as a measure of preventing the spread of the virus.

This unexpected situation brought untold inconveniences to many travellers who were left stranded in countries that they were travelling for business or leisure.

Stranded in a foreign land

Asaase Radio’s Nana Abena Boakye-Boateng caught up with two foreigners who were unable to travel outside Ghana due to the closure of the country’s borders.

“I came in like one month before the lockdown, I came 12 February for a visit, I was not planning to stay here and then the lockdown came in, so I was not really prepared,” Lizzy Kaifrom Sierra Leone said.

Although she was not prepared for the lockdown, Kaifrom, who lived through the period with relatives in Ghana said: “it was ok because there were no positive cases where I was staying.” 

She also noted that although the lockdown made her “bored” because she had just come to Ghana and could not go out to see different places, she was thankful to God for her safety and added that she was “still taking the medical precautions” to ensure her continuous safety.

Patricia Saidu, a 22-year-old student from Sierra Leone who also arrived in Ghana days before the lockdown said, “I came here for a short visit but because of this COVID-19, I have to overstay my visit.” 

Notwithstanding the unexpected lockdown, Patricia had some positive things to say about her visit to Ghana, she said, “I enjoyed myself, I had time to spend with my sister because she got married to a Ghanaian and she has been here for a long time. The COVID was an opportunity for me to spend more time with her and the kids and her husband.

“So it was great,” she added.

Since the re-opening of the airports, Ghana has ensured that all COVID-19 protocols are strictly observed.

Travellers going in and out of Ghana have to submit themselves for a mandatory COVID-19 test which can be done physically or online before they embark on their journey. 

Aviation sector takes a hit

A report by the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) says the pandemic will have “far-reaching implications” for the aviation industry “for many years”

The severe downturn in air travel this year caused by the COVID-19, followed by a slow recovery, will result in a loss of up to 46 million jobs normally supported by aviation around the globe, new research by the Air Transport Action Group says.

The report says more than half of the 88 million jobs supported by aviation could be lost at least temporarily, as a result of the pandemic.

Many in the industry expect air travel will not recover to last year’s level until 2024.

According to statistics from the John Hopkins University, national public health agencies, and United Nations population data figures as at 7 October, more than 35 million cases have been confirmed worldwide in some 188 countries with more than one million deaths. 

The United States leads the world with a confirmed total of 7,445,940 cases with 210,138 deaths and a death rate of 64.2 % while China, the country from whence the virus originated has a total of 90,667 confirmed cases, 4,739 deaths and a death rate of 0.3 %. 

Nana Abena Boakye-Boateng

Asaase Radio 99.5 – tune in or log on to broadcasts online.

Follow us on Twitter: @ asaaseradio995

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