Kenya and UK hold first meeting of the Joint Committee on COVID-19

Kenya and UK hold first meeting of the Joint Committee on COVID-19
Britain's Foreign Affairs Secretary Dominic Raab and Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs Raychelle Omamo address a news conference in Nairobi, Kenya January 20, 2021. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

Kenya and the United Kingdom (UK) on Thursday held the first meeting of the Joint Emergency Response Committee on COVID-19.

The committee was set up on April 7, 2021 by Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amb. Raychelle Omamo and UK Foreign Secretary Rt Dominic Raab to explore ways to resolve ongoing travel restrictions between the two countries.

The committee was co-chaired by Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Amb. Macharia Kamau and Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office Africa Director Irfan Siddiq in the presence of scientific experts from both sides during which science and health-related issues that led to the current restrictions were discussed.

“The Committee agreed on the importance of the bilateral relationship and of resolving the negative effects of the restrictions, particularly movement of people and goods,” read a statement to newsrooms.

“The Committee agreed to form technical groups to address the issues and report back to the main Committee in the next few days.”

The meeting was also attended by PSs Susan Mochache (Health), Solomon Kitungu (Transport) and Secretary for Trade Dr. Linyiru Bruno.

Kenya and UK agreed to form the joint committee following an earlier move by the UK to have visitors who have been in or transited through Kenya refused entry into England.

The British High Commission on April 2, 2021 said Kenya will be included in the COVID-19 travel ban red list on April 9.

In a letter to the Kenyan Foreign Ministry, the British High Commission said the decision was taken by UK Ministers on March 31 following a review of the latest scientific evidence pertaining to the risk of community transmission of COVID- 19 variants.

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