Kenya releases updated list of travelers from countries exempted from quarantine

Kenya Airways planes are seen parked at the Jomo Kenyatta International airport near Kenya's capital Nairobi, April 28, 2016. /Thomas Mukoya/Reuters
FILE PHOTO: Kenya Airways planes are seen parked at the Jomo Kenyatta International airport near Kenya’s capital Nairobi. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya/File Photo

The Kenyan government on Wednesday released an updated list of nations and territories whose citizens/travelers are not subject to the mandatory 14-day quarantine period after arriving in the country on international flights.

The list by the Ministry of Transport includes about 125 countries and territories out of which 17 are in Africa.

The African countries listed are: Namibia, Uganda, Rwanda, Morocco, Ethiopia, Seychelles, Eritrea, Gambia, Mauritius, Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Djibouti, Lesotho and Angola.

Of the 17 countries, Egypt has the highest burden with nearly 95,000 confirmed cases. Morocco (27,217) and Ethiopia (20,336) have the next highest burdens, according to the latest figures by the Africa CDC.

All the other countries on the list individually have less than 10,000 confirmed cases. However, some countries on the list have taken strict measures in light of a surge in coronavirus cases. Gambia is one such example as it declared a state of emergency on Wednesday and closed its borders and airspace. The West African country has witnessed a spike of more than 60 percent in the last one week.

Citizens/Travelers from the United States will be exempted from quarantine with the exception of those from the states of California, Florida and Texas.

Prior to Kenya resuming international flights on August 1, the ministry announced an initial list of 11 countries whose citizens/travellers would be exempt from mandatory quarantine. This, the Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said, was because those countries had mild or limited community transmission or declining incidences.

“Let me not say this is a blanket approval. We do have, initially, a list of countries from which passengers will be allowed. This will be a list which will be reviewed on an ongoing basis because this issue about COVID-19 is not static; it gets better, it gets worse,” Macharia said at the time.

The ministry also released a set of strict protocols to govern the safe resumption of flights in light.

International flights into and out of Kenya had been suspended in March with only emergency and cargo being allowed to operate. Domestic flights in the country resumed on July 15.