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Kenya: UK Retains Kenya Travel Ban

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The United Kingdom has retained Kenya in the list of countries whose nationals are barred from entering Britain, dealing a blow to Nairobi’s efforts for review of the travel embargo.

The UK last week updated countries on England’s “Red List” amid concerns about the spread of new Covid-19 variants.

Kenya remained on the travel ban list where it was first included in April, triggering a tit-for-tat travel blockade from Nairobi.

The UK travel ban comes amid fears that the highly contagious Covid-19 Delta variant may spark a fourth wave of infections in Kenya over the next two months.

It also signals that reconciliatory talks initiated in mid-April to review the travel restrictions between Kenya and the UK, which threatened bilateral trade, economic and security relations, have not prompted England to downgrade the movement limits.

The UK ban has added weight to the decision of more than 50 countries to deny access to Kenyans in the global race to protect nations against new variants of coronavirus.

In May, Kenya lifted the ban on flights between Nairobi and London and eased restrictions imposed in retaliation to its inclusion in the red list.

The UK has segmented countries into a green, amber and red lists, each carrying different degrees of restrictions for arrivals back into the UK.

A British citizen travelling from a Green List is not required to undergo a mandatory quarantine.

Travellers arriving in the UK from countries on the Red List will be denied entry, while returning Britons must submit to 10 days of mandatory quarantine in hotels.

Kenya has relaxed punitive requirements that it had imposed on British citizens that required them to be isolated for 14 days before they can be admitted to the country.

In mid-June review, the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) said the British nationals and non-citizens travelling through London are required to self-isolate for only seven days.

The UK claims its decisions are based on scientific evidence on the incidence of deadly and highly contagious Covid-19 strains. The rapidly transmissible Covid-19 Delta variant, first identified in India, is dominant in western Kenya, where it was initially detected in the country.

The government imposed restrictions on movement in the region to try and stem it from spreading nationwide.