Two Italians turned back At Moi International Airport as Kenya steps up on coronavirus prevention

Two Italians who arrived in Kenya from Addis Ababa in Ethiopia were turned back by Kenyan authorities. [Photo courtesy]

Two Italian nationals who flew to Kenya Via Addis Ababa in Ethiopia on Monday were denied entry to Kenya after trying to disembark the plane at the Moi International Airport in Mombasa.

Kenyan authorities said that the two Italians, Marbeillo Fransisco and Marbiello Maurice who were travelling on tourist visas exhibited coronavirus-like symptoms which informed their grounding.

Mombasa County Commissioner Gilbert Kitiyo in response to the matter confirmed that the Italians were turned back.

“Yes, the two were denied entry after it emerged that they came from Italy. They were later deported to Addis Ababa,” he stated as quoted by the Standard.

Forty-two other passengers who were on the plane were asked to self-quarantine for 14 days. Though he did not disclose their nationalities, Kitiyo said that they are under close monitoring by a team of Kenyan doctors.

“The other passengers did not show any symptoms of the virus but we had to advise them to self-quarantine,” he added.

This move came a week after the government banned flights from Italy’s Northern cities of Milan and Verona where COVID-19 continues to ravage lives.

On March 3, 2020, the National Emergency Response Committee on Coronavirus (NERCC) banned flights from Northern Italy from entering the Kenyan coast.

“Following Consultations with the Italian Embassy and Stake Holders, the National Emergency Response Committee on Corona Virus (NERCC) has concluded that flights from the North of Italy, specifically Verona and Milan which usually has direct chartered flights to our coast be suspended effective March 3rd, 2020,” a statement from NERCC read.

Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia on March 5, 2020, said they were contemplating suspending flights from Rome, Italy to Nairobi.

“We are also monitoring Kenya Airways flights to Rome and Milan because as you know, Italy has been hit hard by the virus in Verona,” Mr Macharia told a joint Senate and Parliament Committee on Health.

Italy has so far recorded 24,747 cases of the virus and 2,158 deaths, the second-highest number of deaths after China.

While confirming the fourth COVID-19 case on Tuesday, Health CS Mutahi Kagwe said self-quarantine is not “voluntary but mandatory” going by the Public Health Act.

Those who fail to self-quarantine risk a jail term.