Big relief as UK removes Kenya from travel ban list


Unused check-in desks at Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 in West London on September 9, 2019. PHOTO | AFP

Travellers from Kenya will now be allowed into the United Kingdom from next week after Britain revised its Covid-19 travel list in a fresh boost for tourism, which is currently in its peak season.

The UK moved Kenya from its Red List to Amber along with seven other countries –Egypt, Turkey, Pakistan, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Oman, and Bangladesh.

Travellers arriving in the UK from countries on the Red List are denied entry while returning Britons must submit to 10 days of mandatory quarantine in hotels. UK nationals are barred from travelling to those countries.

Kenya was placed in the Red List in April following the spread of the highly contagious Covid-19 Delta variant in the country, dealing a blow to the tourism sector.

The revision, announced by British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps on Friday, offers a boost to the Kenyan hospitality industry, whose tourism season traditionally peaks from July to September, coinciding with the country’s dry season and the world-renowned migration of wildebeest and zebra through Maasai Mara Game Reserve.

Kenya is a popular tourism destination for Britons, with the UK ranking fourth for the fourth largest arrivals through the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in 2019.

After the announcement, British High Commissioner to Kenya, Ms Jane Marriott, said: “Kenya is off the red list. I know how this has been difficult but our Kenya-UK partnership remains strong. Thank you, the Government of Kenya, for working closely with us over the past few months. The fight against Covid-19 is still not over, from vaccines to genomic sequencing – we will continue to work together to beat the pandemic.”

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

People coming from Amber List countries quarantine for 10 days at home or place of stay and have to provide evidence of three negative Covid tests -- one before returning to the UK, one on day two and another on day eight.

People coming from Green List countries do not have to quarantine and have to provide evidence of two negative Covid tests -- one before returning to the UK and one on day two.

The move to the Amber list will take effect from 4am on Wednesday, September 22.