The government has expanded the provision of Covid-19 testing stations at airports, from two to 10 and introduced electronic payment services.
The improvements came just days after arriving passengers complained that they were spending long hours at the airport waiting to be tested.
On May 15, this year Bongo Flava artiste, Richard Martin, aka ‘Rich Mavoko’ was quoted saying that passengers arriving at the Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) from various countries were taking too long to get the tested, pay for the services and getting the results.
A statement issued on Tuesday, May 18, 2021 by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Prof Abel Makubi stated that the services would now only take 15 minutes and that travelers would be allowed entry only if the tests were negative.
“The steps we have taken aims at reducing the duration of the testing process. Following these comments, improvements have been made with the addition of service delivery areas including from two to 10 testing centers,” it reads in part, adding that electronic payments were also introduced to reduce time used by travelers to make payments.
Commenting on the screening of patients entering the country, Prof Makubi said due to the global epidemic and the emergence of a new strain of Covid-19 virus in some countries and in view of how the disease is contagious the Ministry will continue to monitor the situation.
He said the ministry had directed all travelers from abroad to undergo Covid-19 Rapid Antigen Test when entering the country at all ports of entry.
He said the rapid testing was also being conducted in other countries, “So it is not only Tanzania that is charging for the service.”
He said the cost of the test in Tanzania is US $25 per passenger.
“All citizens and passengers are informed that this test is necessary to be taken to determine the nature of the infection, especially those that occurred shortly before or during travel,” Prof Makubi says in the statement.
However, Prof Makubi said for travelers who have to undergo RT-PCR testing in the country when they want to go abroad, the current cost is US $100 and the money is for the cost of testing services as the actual cost is higher and the government of Tanzania subsidising.