Kenya to be included in COVID-19 travel ban red list: U.K.


Kenya to be included in COVID-19 travel ban red list: U.K.

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

Also Read: No ICU spaces left, 10 doctors admitted to hospitals: KMPDU

The commission said visitors who have been in or transited through Kenya in the previous 10 days will be refused entry into England.

“British, Irish and third-country nationals with residence rights arriving from these countries will be required to quarantine in a Government-approved facility for 10 days,” the statement reads.

Bangladesh, Pakistan and Philippines will also be added to the red list travel ban.

In a letter to the Kenyan Foreign Ministry, the British High Commission said the difficult 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.

“Of the average of 550 people that travel from Kenya to the UK each week, a significant number are testing positive on Day 2. Nearly a third of those testing positive have been carrying the B.1.351 variant, which originated in South Africa,” the letter reads.

Envoys and their families not required to quarantine

The commission however noted that members of diplomatic missions and consular posts in the UK, officers, servants or representatives of international organisations, representative at an international or UK conference granted privileges and immunities, and their families or dependents, will not be required to quarantine in a managed quarantine hotel.

“They will be asked to self-isolate in the place they will be staying in the UK for 10 days following arrival, as at present,” the commission said, adding that it is the UK government’s intention to maintain direct flights in light of the critical importance of ensuring trade and commercial links between the UK and Kenya.

The letter indicated that the latest restrictions are temporary measures that will be kept under review and will only remain in place whilst the level of risk is assessed to justify these measures.

Kenya’s latest COVID-19 statistics indicate a positivity rate of 18.5%. The country’s caseload is 135,042 out of 1,494,77 cumulative tests carried out so far.

The death toll as a result of the virus hit 2,167 on Thursday after 14 new fatalities were reported.

AstraZeneca vaccine hold

In terms of vaccination, 196,435 people in the country have received their first jab with Kenya seeking to upscale and vaccinate more than 50,000 people a day. However, India’s decision to put a temporary hold on all major exports of the AstraZeneca vaccine doses has had implications for Kenya.

On March 24, Kenya’s health ministry sounded the alarm over the spiraling number of COVID-19 cases after it emerged that 57 percent of infections in one week were reported from Nairobi.

Health CAS Mercy Mwangangi warned that unless the trend was arrested the Government would have no alternative but to take more stringent measures.

COVID-19 travel ban

Indeed two days later, President Uhuru Kenyatta banned movement in and out of five counties — Nairobi, Kajiado, Machakos, Kiambu and Nakuru — he termed as a ‘disease-infected zone’.

The President also reviewed curfew hours in the five counties directing that it begins at 8pm and ends at 4am. Curfew hours for the rest of the country remain from 10pm to 4am. Bar operations and sale of alcohol at restaurants have also suspended in the zoned area until further notice.

In the United Kingdom, 51 new COVID-19 deaths were reported on April 1, taking the seven-day total to 320, a drop of 38.5% compared with the previous seven-day period, official data showed.

The daily number of new cases was 4,479, with the seven-day total at close to 32,000, down by 16.7% over the previous seven days, the data showed. The country that has a population of 66.65million has so far recorded 4.35million COVID-19 cases.

A total of 31.147 million people have had at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine while 4.513 million have had a second dose.

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