Britain is reviewing the ban on travelers from Kenya today

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Britain is reviewing the ban on travelers from Kenya today

Thursday, September 16, 2021

A British Airways aircraft. AFP PHOTO

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BY BONFACE OTIENO
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summary

  • The UK will decide in its most recent travel review today whether to lift the ban on travelers from Kenya to the UK.
  • Up to 24 countries, including Kenya, South Africa and Egypt, could be moved from the red to the green travel list this week, several media outlets in the UK said.
  • Travelers entering the UK from Red List countries will be refused entry, while returning Brits will have to undergo a mandatory 10-day quarantine in hotels.

The UK will decide in its most recent travel review today whether to lift the ban on travelers from Kenya to the UK.

Up to 24 countries, including Kenya, South Africa and Egypt, could be moved from the red to the green travel list this week, several media outlets in the UK said.

Travelers entering the UK from Red List countries will be refused entry, while returning Brits will have to undergo a mandatory 10-day quarantine in hotels.

People coming from Green List countries do not need to be quarantined and must have two negative Covid tests – one before returning to the UK and one on the second day.

“We finally hope that tomorrow (today) the UK will remove Kenya from the ‘Red List’ to the ‘Green List’,” said Patrick Amoth, Director General of the Department of Health, in a telephone interview.

Travelers from Kenya were banned from entering the UK in April after the highly contagious Covid-19 Delta variant spread across the country and dealt a blow to the tourism sector.

The UK has divided countries into green, yellow and red lists, each with different restrictions on how to return to the UK.

It is expected to announce changes to the UK traffic light system in its recent review today, as reports suggest that the regime could be completely abolished by next month.

“With no new variants of concern since the beginning of May and the UK having higher levels of Delta infections than most other countries, there is no reason to keep so many countries on the Red List,” said Paul Charles, CEO of the PC Agency Travel advice, was quoted in the UK press.

The ban on Kenyan travelers came from fear that the highly contagious Covid-19 Delta variant could trigger the fourth wave of infections in Kenya.

Dr. Amoth said Kenya had seen a decrease in Covid-19 infections, while admissions to health facilities had also decreased.

The positivity rate – the percentage of tests that come back positive – rose in double digits from July, causing concern among health officials.

The rate has fallen from 14.5 percent in August 15 to seven percent yesterday as the government increases testing and vaccinations.

In Kenya, 838,565 people were fully vaccinated out of 746,267 in August, while the number who received the first vaccination rose from 2 million to 3.19 million in the same period.

The country has received and raised several vaccine donations, including from the UK, with the aim of vaccinating 10 million Kenyans by next Christmas.

“We vaccinated more people than we were on the ‘Red List’. Our genomic monitoring and sequencing is also in progress – this will allow us to include any variant in circulation that is of concern, ”said Dr. Amoth.

Kenya relaxed the penalties for British citizens who required 14 days of isolation before entering the country.

In mid-June, the Kenyan Civil Aviation Authority announced that British nationals and non-citizens traveling through London would only need to self-isolate for seven days.

A decision to remove Kenya from England’s Red List will boost the East African nation’s tourism industry, which raised $ 91.7 billion last year.

Great Britain is one of Kenya’s most important trading partners and, with 49,828 8.8 percent of all visitors to the country in 2020, had the fourth largest arrivals via Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

The number of tourist arrivals from Great Britain was 16,264 in the first half of this year compared to 42,341 in the same period last year.

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