Economy

US raises Kenya Covid travel alert

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Terminal 1A at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • The US has issued a fresh travel advisory against Kenya in the wake of a surge in Covid-19 cases, dealing a blow to the recovering tourism sector.
  • The US has downgraded Kenya from level two to level three, which requires US citizens to avoid all non-essential travel to a destination and reconsider any planned travel.
  • The advisory comes less than a week after the UK, also retained Kenya on its travel ban list amid rising Covid-19 cases in the country.

The US has issued a fresh travel advisory against Kenya in the wake of a surge in Covid-19 cases, dealing a blow to the recovering tourism sector.

The US has downgraded Kenya from level two to level three, which requires US citizens to avoid all non-essential travel to a destination and reconsider any planned travel.

The advisory comes less than a week after the UK, also retained Kenya on its travel ban list amid rising Covid-19 cases in the country.

The restrictions look set to hurt the vital tourism sector, which is in the middle of the high season period, given the two countries account for over 20 percent of travel to Kenya.

In the half-year to June, visitors to Kenya from the US and UK stood as 65,442 representing 21.4 percent of arrivals.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level Three Travel Health Notice for Kenya due to Covid-19, indicating a high level of Covid-19 in the country,” a statement posted on the US embassy website said.

The US travel restrictions come amid fears that the highly contagious Covid-19 Delta variant may spark the fourth wave of infections in Kenya.

Kenya had 213,756 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 4,211 deaths, with a positivity rate of 14.5 percent as of Tuesday.

Traditionally, the Kenyan high tourist season starts in mid-July and runs till March the following year and is characterised by more international arrivals mainly from the US, UK, Germany, Italy and France.

The US classification of Kenya as Covid-19 high-risk could force many US travellers to either cancel or postpone their trips indefinitely.

In June, the US CDC issued a Level 2 Travel Health Notice for Kenya due to Covid-19, indicating a moderate level of Covid-19 in the country.

In April, the US retained the highest travel advisory on Kenya following what was said was the steep rise in Covid-19 cases in the country, as advised by its CDC.