International travellers visiting Kenya will have to produce a certificate showing that they are free of Covid-19 before they are allowed into the country.
Making the announcement while speaking in Mombasa Thursday during the daily briefing on the Covid-19 situation in Kenya, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said that the travellers will further be quarantined for 14 days.
CS Kagwe insisted that the travellers must produce the crucial document as he assured Kenyans that the government has not rescinded its earlier protocols.
“The protocol is, you must be tested for Covid-19 before you leave the country where you are in. You must have a negative certificate before you board the plane,” said Mr Kagwe.
On Wednesday, the government had announced that there will be no mandatory quarantine for travellers arriving in Kenya if they do not show Covid-19 symptoms.
Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia had also announced that airports across the country will be restricted to workers and travellers only, except for cases where travellers need special assistance.
“There was a meeting between the transport sector and the Ministry of Health to determine how we are going to open public transport. But what CS Macharia was saying is that when we open the airspace on August 1, probably there will be no certification required. But we have a protocol in place and we have not waived it,” clarified CS Kagwe.
On July 6, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced the reopening of the international air travel from August 1, a relief to the aviation industry players and workers.
LOCAL AIR TRAVEL
However, local air travel will resume on July 15 under guidelines from the ministries of Health and Transport.
Mr Kagwe said airlines have a form from the Ministry of Health that individuals must fill before boarding planes.
“It says you will be tested and when you get to Nairobi you will be quarantined whether it is individual, home or institutional. That is the current protocol and it has not changed,” he insisted.
“We hope that it is going to change by the time we open international airspace because by then, we would either have found a way of ensuring that if you are negative that sustains itself. That is what CS Macharia was talking about,” the Health CS added.
But hoteliers urged the government to ease the protocols saying travel agents, insurance companies and tour operators have done due diligence.
“You don’t take a holiday to be quarantined. Tourists will not come if we emphasise on such strict protocols. Airlines have done their due diligence. Why would anyone travel to be quarantined for 14 days in a tourism destination? Let’s use the international best practice and see what other destinations have adopted. This is a global phenomenon, we must apply global standards,” the Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers Coast Executive Sam Ikwaye insisted.