The decision by the Government of the United Kingdom to 'Red List' Kenya and to stop all travel from Kenya for those resident in Kenya and those transiting through Kenya, to the United Kingdom has been received with regret and disappointment, Kenya's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
he ministry said that placing Nairobi on the "red list" was discriminatory, punitive and a threat to bilateral ties with the former colonial power. It said that profiling Kenya as a COVID-19 hotspot and barring its citizens from visiting Britain is likely to impair bilateral ties in diverse spheres like trade, tourism and security.
Britain on April 2 communicated its decision to add Kenya to the list of countries whose visitors will be banned from entering its shores from April 9, citing their risk of transmitting new coronavirus strains.
According to the British Department of Transport, nearly a third of about 550 people who travel from Kenya to the UK each week have been testing positive to the COVID-19 variant originating from South Africa.
However, British, Irish and third-country nationals with residence rights in the UK who have departed or transited through Kenya will be exempted from the travel ban but will be required to undergo mandatory 10-day quarantine in a government-approved facility besides taking two COVID tests.
Kenya in retaliation to the travel ban said all visitors originating from or transiting through UK airports will be required to undergo a 14-day mandatory quarantine at a government facility at their own cost.
"While in isolation, they will be subject to take two PCR COVID-19 tests, on day 2 and day 8 of their quarantine, at their own cost," the ministry said.
It said that exemption from the new travel restrictions that commence on April 9 midnight include cargo flights between the two countries and Kenyan nationals resident in the UK or transiting through the European nation's airports. ■