Kagwe to issue UK flight ban verdict in 48 hours

Health CS Mutahi Kagwe: What can we do to stimulate the economy in this situation. FILE PHOTO | NMG Kenya will make a decision in the next 48 hours on whether to join EU member States in imposing new travel restrictions to and from the United Kingdom due to a highly infectious new coronavirus strain.

Health Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said Kenya was monitoring events in the UK before taking action on a day the European Commission advised all its 27 member States to lift their embargo on trains, planes and lorries from Britain to avoid further disruption.

Countries across Europe and beyond have suspended travel from Britain since the weekend after the UK said it had discovered mutated variant of the novel coronavirus, which could be up to 70 percent more transmissible.

Britain is one of Kenya’s main trading partners and last year accounted for the fourth largest arrivals through Jomo Kenyatta International Airport with 181, 400 visitors.

“UK has imposed travel restriction and in the next 48 hours we will be making further announcements,” Mr Kagwe said yesterday.

“Travel restrictions are on the table. We are observing global trends and discussions are looking at what is going on.”

Countries closed their doors to Britain after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Saturday that the new variant was up to 70 percent more transmissible than the original version.

Mr Johnson put London and parts of the South East and East of England on a two-week Christmas lockdown, with nearly 18 million people in a new Tier 4.

Dozens of nations outside Europe have also blocked flights from Britain. They include Canada, Russia, India, Saudi Arabia and Argentina.

Kenya’s aviation regulator said it is awaiting directive from the Ministry of Health before issuing a restraining order on flights to and from some of the European countries that have reported a new strain of Covid-19.

The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) director-general Gilbert Kibe told the Business Daily that discussions are on in government over the new Covid-19 strain and its impacts on travel in and out of the country.“The Ministry of Health is seriously deliberating on the issue and we are waiting for a guidance from them then we shall act accordingly,” said Mr Kibe.The discovery of the new strain, just months before vaccines are expected to be widely available, sowed a fresh wave of panic in a pandemic that has killed about 1.7 million people worldwide and more […]

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