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Kenya issues mandatory 14-day quarantine for all travelers arriving from UK

The government will from Monday require all travelers from the UK to have a valid Covid-19 vaccination certificate, a Covid-19 negative PCR test and must self-isolate for 14 days on arrival.

In a statement, the government said all passenger flights, whether commercial or charter, between Kenya and the UK will be suspended.

The suspension will be reviewed by the Government of Kenya within four weeks.

“All UK citizens and residents travelling to Kenya from the UK via any route who have a valid Covid-19 PCR test, but do not have a valid Covid-19 vaccination certificate, will be subject to 14 days mandatory quarantine on arrival at a Government of Kenya facility at their own cost. All travellers under the age of 18 will only require a certificate of Covid-19 negative PCR test to enter Kenya,” the statement added.

At the same time, the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) said those traveling from Brunei, Thailand, Kuwait, Czech Republic and Pakistan should be in possession of a negative PCR-based Covid-19 test result conducted within 96 hours before travel and not display any flu-like symptoms upon arrival.

“They should provide evidence of their booking for the quarantine locations 24 hours before boarding,” it added.

Last month, UK banned passengers travelling from Kenya from entering the European country starting April 9 to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.

Kenya was among four counties that have been added to UK’s red list amid concerns about new Covid-19 variants.

In retaliation, Kenya suspended flights between the two countries and banned all flights from the UK, effective April 9, in response to London’s move to bar Kenyans from its territory over the spike in Covid-19 cases.

The tiff between the two countries began after the UK added Kenya to its ‘red list’ amid concerns about new Covid-19 variants, and banned passengers from Nairobi.

“Of the average 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 1.352 variant which originated from South Africa,” the British High Commission said in a statement then.

Following this, London stated that only British, Irish and third-world country nationals with residence rights in the UK will be allowed. Nairobi termed the announcement a “regrettable decision”.

“The decision will have deep and far-reaching consequences on the Kenya-United Kingdom trade, travel, tourism, security cooperation among other sectors,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

And as a compromise, the UK had proposed to Kenya to implement rapid testing at airports to weed out fake or invalid travel certificates.

If Nairobi implements this, it could join Ghana which already tests passengers at airports with spot results at a cost of about Sh2,500 ($25) per person. But implementing the system could take at least a month, and its viability has yet to be discussed by the Kenyan government.

Kenya is not yet giving Covid-19 certificates, but recipients have been receiving text messages notifying them on the next date of vaccination, and batch number they have been vaccinated with.

The UK has issued vaccination cards to recipients. But the targeted group includes people who are 50 and above, health and social workers, vulnerable groups and those with disabilities.

The vaccination card indicates the type of vaccine a person has been inoculated with. Pilots and crew have not been listed as essential groups to receive the vaccine, nor the certificates.

Officials said the crew may have to wait or try their luck in Kenya.