The government’s laxity in closing the Tanzanian border will see Kenyans traveling to the UK undergo compulsory quarantine.
The Telegraph newspaper in Britain quoted a source from the British High Commission in Nairobi saying that Kenya is likely to be added to the red list by March 29, 2021.
“For weeks, red list rumors have been circulating Nairobi; a refusal to close borders with neighboring Tanzania, which has not published coronavirus statistics since May 2020, was touted as a key factor,” read the Telegraph.
This move will have travelers pre-book and quarantine for ten days in Ksh226,971 government-sanctioned hotels. Currently, South Africa, Ethiopia, Qatar, and UAE are on the list leaving Nairobi as the main hub linking flights to the UK.
The UK is one of Kenya’s main trade partners and the blacklist will make it harder for Kenyans traveling to the European nation, particularly professionals and business people who travel for short stays.
It could also discourage British tourists from visiting Kenya knowing they will have to quarantine for ten days after returning to their home country.
Namanga One Stop Border post
“The red list is kept under constant review and we will not hesitate to act when needed. We do not provide a running commentary on whether specific countries may be removed or added to the list,” the British High Commission’s spokesperson stated.
The UK has expressed concerns over the Covid variants in Kenya getting to the country with the free movement across the Tanzania border. Kenya has had a love hate relationship with Tanzania.
Tanzania’s late President John Pombe Magufuli declared the country to be Coronavirus-free in April 2020 and ordered full re-opening of borders and economic activities. Magufuli claimed, without evidence, that God had protected the East African nation from the pandemic.
The country also blocked Kenyan planes from landing at their airports. The row escalated when Kenya excluded Tanzanian nationals among travellers exempted from mandatory Covid-19 quarantine
Early this year, the government through Health CS Mutahi Kagwe heightened security measures at entry points and sent Covid-19 related items to counties located along the border after the number of deaths in neighboring Tanzania increased.
CS Kagwe instructed officers to ensure that anyone coming into Kenya from Tanzania has a negative Covid-19 certificate except Kenyans who test positive and are coming back home. He further restricted the entry of any other positive patients across the border.
Despite the government efforts, the border remains porous with numerous unofficial routes which citizens in the two countries use frequently.
Last week, reports emerged that Kenyans living on the border were flocking Taznzania’s filling stations to buy cheap fuel after a hike on the Kenyan side.
Health CS Mutahi Kagwe addressing the media on October 2020.