DIPLOMATIC ROW

List of countries allowed to fly into Kenya will be reviewed daily - CS Macharia

Tanzania locked out of list of countries allowed into Kenya

In Summary

• On why Tanzania was locked out of the initial list, Macharia said, "We don't want to go into details of specific countries, but there are considerations."

•The move to exempt Tanzania on the list comes amid increasing diplomatic wars with Kenya.

Transport CS James Macharia at Afya House on May 26, 2020.
Transport CS James Macharia at Afya House on May 26, 2020.
Image: MERCY MUMO

Transport CS James Macharia has said the list of countries allowed to fly into Kenya will be reviewed daily.

In a communiqué on Thursday, Macharia said China,  South Korea, Japan, Canada, Uganda, France, Namibia,  Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Switzerland  and  Morocco who have mild and limited community transmission will be allowed initially.

Kenya's first flight out of the country will be to London and when asked during an interview with Citizen TV whether the aircraft will return empty, Macharia said the country might be added to the list by the time the flight arrives.

According to the communiqué, all the passengers arriving in the country will be required to produce a PCR based Covid-19 certificate whose test should have been done 96 hours before travel.

“Let it be clear that those who will have a certificate of tests done before the stipulated 96 hrs will not be allowed to board in the first place. On arrival the passengers’ temperature should not exceed 37.5 degrees and not display any Covid-19 related signs,” Macharia said.

He said only such passengers will be exempted from quarantine.

Kenya uses PCR tests, which directly detect the presence of an antigen, rather than the presence of the body’s immune response, or antibodies.

Some countries use antibody tests which check the blood by looking for antibodies, which may tell if one had a past infection with the virus that causes Covid-19.

Macharia said passengers traveling out of the country will be required to abide by Covid-19 requirements of destination countries and before boarding, airline operators are under firm instructions to check compliance.

“Passengers arriving after curfew hours shall be allowed to proceed to their hotels but must have a valid passport and boarding pass,” he said.

 

The CS said drivers of such passengers will also be required to provide evidence that they came from the airport to pick them.

“For those departing after the curfew hours, they must have a valid boarding pass before they are allowed,” he said.

 

Macharia said air operators are required to provide guiding materials on the application of preventive measures.

"It should be noted that the aviation industry is an important sector both in terms of transmission and opening the economy. As we head towards the resumption of the international flights we have developed these protocols to ensure the safety of travelers,’ he said.

Macharia said through the resumption of the local flights, the industry had taken some time to learn what needs to be improved to ensure maximum readiness ahead of the August 1.

Domestic flight after approvals and protocols opened up on July 15.

On why Tanzania was locked out of the initial list, Macharia said, "We don't want to go into details of specific countries, but there are considerations."

The move to exempt Tanzania on the list comes amid increasing diplomatic wars with Kenya.

On Tuesday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied claims that the Kenyan delegation to President Benjamin Mkapa’s funeral was turned back mid-air by the Tanzanian authorities.