MEASURES ANNOUNCED

State issues rules to block importation of new Covid variants

Any traveller who will not comply with the requirements will not be cleared for entry.

In Summary

• The new measures are aimed at preventing the importation of the new Covi-19 variants into the country.

• The measures have been sent to all diplomatic missions, United Nations agencies and international organisations accredited in the country through a letter from the MoFA.

At OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg there are fewer passengers than normal, most flying domestic routes.
At OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg there are fewer passengers than normal, most flying domestic routes.
Image: REUTERS

Travellers coming into the country will now be required to submit their health surveillance form online through the ‘Jitenge’ platform prior to disembarking.

In a series of new measures by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, any traveller who will not have complied will not be cleared for entry and it will be the responsibility of the concerned airline.

The new measures are aimed at preventing the importation of new Covid-19 variants into the country. The measures have been sent to all diplomatic missions, United Nations agencies and international organisations accredited in the country through a letter from the MoFA.

Under the measures, port health authorities and airlines will be required to validate Covid-19 test results for all travellers coming into the country via the digital system for verification.

“A person intending to travel to Kenya must visit an authorised laboratory in the country of departure for Covid-19 PCR test and acquire a Covid negative certificate,” the letter reads.

This will be done by the traveller visiting the www.africacdc.org website.

“Upon arrival at the airport, travellers in the country are required to provide a digital Covid-19 certificate for validation. Airlines are encouraged to confirm travellers’ compliance prior to boarding,” is states.

They have been advised to download the Jitenge app on Google Play Store or access forms online by typing ‘Jitenge MOH’ on any browser or through the provided link to be able to complete the online registration form.

Upon registration on the platform, the traveller will be issued with a QR code to present at the health desk upon arriving in the country. They are also expected to self-monitor and report daily on the same platform for 14 days while in Kenya.

Kenya on Wednesday suspended all passenger flights to and from India for 14 days from Sunday night to assess the situation.

India is registering roughly 2,000 Covid-19 deaths per day, but testing hitches and persons dying outside hospitals mean the number is likely higher. 

The surge is driven by what genome scientists call "double variant" of the novel coronavirus.

“The first responsibility we have is protection of Kenyan lives and that we will not hesitate in doing. The option that we have is suspension of passenger flights between ourselves and India perhaps for a period of time and then we resume when they flatten the curve or when we are secure,” Health CS Mutahi Kagwe CS said.

Kenya’s third wave is likely to have been fueled by the highly transmissible variants of concern B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 detected in January, according to a report released by the Africa CDC on March 23.

 Of more concern is the Tanzanian variant that is said to be having 10 more mutations than found on any other version of SARS-Cov-2.