Kenya Bans Flights From India Over Covid Surge

The Kenyan government has temporarily suspended all flight to and from India as a deadly coronavirus variant ravages the Asian nation. 

Kenya’s 14 days flight ban begins at midnight Saturday, May 1, giving a three-day grace period that allows those wishing to return to the country.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said the Covid-19 response committee made the decision to contain the spread of the virus.

Recently, 23 people died from the virus and 1, 300 are admitted at various health facilities across the country according to the health ministry.

Another 6,900 Covid-19 patients are under home-based care while 198 patients are in Intensive Care Unit.

“Whereas we sympathise with the people of India, we have today agreed to take the Devil’s alternative by suspending all the inbound passenger flights from the subcontinent,” Kagwe said. 

He briefed the media at Moi County Hospital in Voi, Taita Taveta county.

“The committee empathised with the situation through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and expressed our solidarity with the government of India in dealing with the situation,” the CS said.

Kagwe said President Uhuru Kenyatta has further advised the national response committee to explore how it can work with the Indian government and assist in fighting the surging cases.

All passengers arriving from India within the 72 hours will be subjected to mandatory rapid antigen testing upon arrival. 

They will be required to strictly observe 14 days of monitored quarantine.

Those who test positive for the virus on arrival will be put in mandatory quarantine in specified areas by the Ministry of Health at their expense.

Cargo flights will remain in service, subject to observation of the transport protocols.

Kenya joins the UK, Oman, France, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore Bangladesh among countries that have banned flights from India.

On Wednesday, Kenya recorded 834 new Covid-19 cases from a 4,498 samples, posting positivity of 9.8 per cent.

“This is one of the lowest positivity rate that we have seen in a while. This is a real success,” Kagwe noted.

Counties in the locked down disease zone of  Nairobi, Kiambu, Machakos, Kajiado and Nakuru are reporting fewer cases, but those outside are posting higher numbers, Kagwe said. 

Patsy Nwogu

Reporting on data-driven featured stories and investigations.

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