Kenya-UK agree on joint emergency committee to evaluate travel advisory
Kenya and the United Kingdom (UK) have agreed to establish a joint emergency committee, to deal with travel restrictions imposed on the two countries due to Covid-19 pandemic.
Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo and UK’s Dominic Raab, who held deliberations yesterday resolved to come up with solutions to resolve the impasse.
“They discussed the strength of our relationship – on trade, regional security and health – and agreed to establish a joint committee to work on addressing Covid-19 travel restrictions,” a spokesperson for the British High Commission said.
A tweet by the UK High Commission and another from the Kenyan Foreign Affairs ministry confirmed that although the two countries agreed to address the travel restrictions, they also committed to strengthen trade and deepening regional security between the two countries.
“Omamo today held positive deliberations with the UK Foreign Secretary @DominicRaab.
They agreed on the establishment of a joint emergency committee to address Covid-19 emergency travel restrictions,” reads a tweet from MFA.
The talks came after UK banned international arrivals from four more countries including Kenya, Bangladesh, Pakistan and the Philippines starting April 4 due to concerns over new virus variants.
UK said that it had increased the number of countries on its “red list” to reach 39.
“From 4am on Friday April 9, international visitors who have departed from or transited through the Philippines, Pakistan, Kenya and Bangladesh in the previous 10 days will be refused entry into England,” the UK said.
Under the travel bans, international visitors who have departed from or traveled through red-list countries in the preceding 10 days are refused entry into England.
Countries on the list include Brazil and South Africa, where two virus variants have been identified.
But immediately the statement was issued, Kenya airways announced a suspension of its passenger flights to the UK effective tomorrow (Friday).
The KQ management said that customers affected by the directive may change their booking for later travel or request a refund with all penalties waived.
In a statement issued on Monday, KQ explained that the suspension is due to the directive issued by Kenya, suspending all flights from the UK, effective midnight April 9, 2021.
“We sincerely apologise to our customers for the inconvenience but those affected by this directive, may change their bookings for later travel or request a refund with all penalties waived. All tickets must be utilised before March 31,” it said.
KQ issued the travel advisory after Nairobi in retaliation to the UK’s statement, condemned the ban and on its part put a mandatory 14-day isolation and two Covid-19 tests for visitors entering Kenya through the UK.
The Foreign Affairs ministry on Saturday last week expressed disappointment at the UK’s “Red Listing” over Covid-19 travel ban despite Kenya’s efforts to contain the pandemic.
“All passengers originating from or transitioning through UK airports will now be required to go through mandatory 14-day isolation at a government-designed facility at their own cost upon entry into Kenya,” said the ministry.
While in isolation, they will be subjected to two PCR Covid-19 tests on day two and day 8 of their quarantine at their own cost, added the Ministry.
Kenyans returning home from or through the UK are exempted from the measures.
Kenya said it was disturbed by the UK “Red Listing” yet the two nations had enjoyed long-lasting relationships on health, education, security, travel and trade.
Original Source Website: : https://www.pd.co.ke/news/kenya-uk-agree-on-joint-emergency-committee-to-evaluate-travel-advisory-71257/