REOPENING THE ECONOMY

Kenya locks out Tanzania as international flights resume

Macharia noted the countries listed have mild or limited transmission or have declining incidences.

In Summary
  • Only passengers with a Covid-19 free certificate will be allowed to board aircraft at their country of origin.
  • Transport CS James Macharia on Thursday protocols seek to provide guidelines to ensure air travel remains safe.

Only air passengers from 11 countries will be allowed to land on Kenyan soil from Saturday, August 1, the government announced.

They are from China, Japan, South Korea, Canada, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Switzerland, Rwanda, Uganda, Morocco and Namibia.

As per the President’s directive on July 6, international flights are expected to resume operations beginning Saturday.

 

This is, however, subject to meeting the protocols put in place by the government.

 

Only passengers with a negative PCR Covid-19 certificate will be allowed to board aircraft in their country of origin.

Transport CS James Macharia on Thursday said the protocols seek to provide guidelines to ensure air travel remains safe.

Macharia noted the countries listed have mild or limited transmission or have declining incidences.

“This is a list that will be reviewed on a continuous basis because you know this issue about Covid-19 is not static; it gets better, it gets worse. So whereas we have an initial list here, by tomorrow we shall review that list depending on the circumstances on the ground when we do the global mapping of the trends and intensity of the virus,” Macharia said.

According to the protocols, all arriving passengers on international flights with a PCR Covid-19 negative certificate whose body temperature is not above 37.5 degrees Celsius and do not have a persistent cough, difficulty in breathing or other flu-like symptoms and had been tested 96 hours  before travel shall be exempt from quarantine.

Additionally, passengers travelling out of the country will be required to abide by the particular travel health and Covid-19 related requirements of the destination country.

 

“Before you travel make sure you know where you are going what that country expects. We also would like to put some heavy responsibility on the airlines. Before you board your passengers just make sure that your passengers comply with the requirements of where they are going,” the CS noted.

 

Under the protocols, passengers arriving on flights during curfew hours with a valid air ticket and boarding pass shall be allowed to proceed to their hotels or residences.

On the other hand, drivers will be required to have evidence that they came from the airport to drop or pick up passengers.

“Passengers departing on flights after curfew and have valid air ticket and boarding pass shall be allowed to proceed to their departure airport,” the protocols state.

Air operators shall provide guidance to passengers regarding the application of the preventive measures on board.

Where physical distancing cannot be guaranteed because of the seat configuration or operation constraints, the crew members shall be required to make constant on-board announcements reminding passengers  to adhere at all times to all the other preventive measures including strict hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette including wearing of face masks.

Other measures such as good air circulation will also be required to be put in place.

The CS noted that the Transport Ministry will be working jointly with the airports authority and Kenya Civil Aviation to review the frequency and timing of flights to facilitate physical distancing at airports.

“Before Covid-19, some of the airlines used to have like seven flights per week, others up to 24. Now there is Covid so there was an issue whether we should reduce frequency of those flights but what we know is that initially those numbers of people travelling will be quite low. So, we should be reviewing the first week to see how many flights are getting to in and then we shall take the appropriate measures,” Macharia said.

The country recorded 788 new positive cases, bringing the caseload to 19,913.

The cumulative tests now stand at 295,280 with  the total fatality of 325 after 14 more people succumbed to the virus.

Recoveries in the country by Thursday were 8,121.

Edited by Henry Makori