Only 183 Kenyans have registered for evacuation from China on May 8 – Serem

Kenya's Ambassador to China Sarah Serem. [Photo courtesy]

A Nairobi-bound Kenya Airways plane is scheduled to shuttle back Kenyans in China on May 8, Kenya’s ambassador to China Sarah Serem has said.

Serem, however, said that only 183 Kenyans have registered for the evacuation but very few have managed to pay their air tickets.

A fortnight ago, KQ said a one-way ticket would cost Sh80,468, an amount a sizeable number of Kenyans stuck in China could not afford.

Some of them resorted to an online fundraising campaign.

“As you are aware, the flight is a special arrangement that has been availed by the government of Kenya and that of China following the closure of airspace and cancellation of international flights as a result of the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and in response to your distress to be facilitated to go back home,” Serem said.

“We know that although 183 registered their desire to travel back home, very few have bought their tickets as of today (May 1). Kindly know that the Government of China has been so gracious to us, and they have extended an amnesty and issued exit visas to all those with an expired visa and overstays within the set timelines,” she intimated.

She expressed her concern saying the Chinese government has allowed those with expires visas to book the fight but they are yet to do this.

The Kenyan envoy urged all those who are booking the return flight back home to obtain a medical certificate certifying that they are COVID-19 free.

“I would encourage everyone to take advantage of this gesture and arrangement as it will be very difficult to make a similar arrangement in the near future before the current situation normalises, this might be the only opportunity available to those wishing to go home, and therefore you should make urgency to book and secure yourself a seat,” she added.