Government imposes new travel regulations for travelers from Britain over new coronavirus strain

British Airways
British Airways. [Photo courtesy]

The Kenyan government has spelt new health guidelines for travellers from Britain in light of a new strain of coronavirus, known as B.1.1.7.

In new guidelines published by the Ministry of Health, travellers from the United Kingdom must have tested negative for COVID-19 96 hours before arrival in Kenya.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said that this will address concerns of Kenya registering a new case from the new coronavirus strain.

The CS told Daily Nation that Kenya has put full-proof measures to deal with this eventuality from the UK which is why it has not banned flights from the UK like other countries in Europe.

He insisted that in Europe, they had not enforced these strict measures which is why the new strain was able to penetrate.

“We have very strict travel measures with the UK, which the US and Europeans did not have. We are carefully observing every passenger traveling from there. The UK has also put travel restrictions on its own citizens leaving the country,” Kagwe told Daily Nation.

A week ago, Kagwe while speaking in Mukurwe-ini said that there is no need to take such a drastic move.

Kagwe held that in light of the reports of a new strain of coronavirus, European countries, Britain included have embarked on massive screening for all citizens in those countries.

He maintained that Kenya remained safe.

“We as a country do not see any need to close our airspace due to the new variant, in fact a country such as Britain is doing serious screening so we are not in danger as a country,” Kagwe said in Mukurweini during the 30th anniversary of Wakulima Dairy according to Capital FM.

Hitherto, 53 countries across the world have banned flights from the UK until a later date.

Sudan is one of the African countries which have banned flight from the UK.

Kagwe said that for a flight ban to be imposed, the Ministry must be informed by different sectors involved.

“These situations are always dynamic and can change, so we need to get advice from all the sectors before we act. Meanwhile the measures are in place to ensure safety of everyone,” he said. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that the new strain of coronavirus is deadly and spreads fast.