Kenya has excluded the US and the major European nations from a list of countries whose nationals will be allowed in when international flights resume from tomorrow.
A protocol guiding the resumption of international flights only has Canada, Switzerland, Japan, China and South Korea outside of Africa in the list of 11 countries whose citizens will initially be allowed into Kenya.
This means China is the only country among the top 10 nations that accounted for most of the tourists to Kenya last time that is on the list.
Also on the list are Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Uganda and, Rwanda, Morocco and Namibia.
The list excludes countries like US, Tanzania, Britain and India, which brought in 743,310 tourists to Kenya or 37.1 percent of the two million travellers.
Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said yesterday Kenya had developed the initial list based on the intensity of coronavirus cases in specific countries, suggesting that the list will be reviewed in the coming weeks.
Conspicuously missing in the initial list in the region is Tanzania, where authorities have not been open with information regarding Covid-19.
"For a start, these countries that I am mentioning are in the initial list. These countries have mild or limited community transmission or they have declining incidences. These are the ones we shall be allowing passengers to come from," said Mr Macharia.
The US has registered one of the highest caseloads in the world, with over four million infections and 153,000 deaths reported by yesterday, according to John Hopkins Hospital.
The United Kingdom had over 301,000 confirmed cases and about 45,000 deaths as of yesterday.
The travel curbs look set to hurt Kenya’s tourism and Kenya Airways, which had planned to ferry in passengers from the bulk of the countries not in the government list.
Kenya Airways, which had lost more than Sh10 billion in the six months to June due to the travel restrictions, has unveiled a flight schedule to 30 destinations.
But the national carrier will only be able to bring in passengers from four of the 30 cities, including Kigali, Addis Ababa, Harare and Victoria Falls.
It will be barred from flying travellers from London, Amsterdam, Dubai, Paris, Mumbai and Johannesburg this August when it resumes flights.
The US is a leading source market for Kenya’s foreign tourists. It brought in 245,437 tourists last year followed by Uganda (223, 010), Tanzania (193,740) and UK (181,484).
Kenya’s Covid-19 cases jumped to 19,913 on Thursday after 788 new cases were reported from a sample of 5,521.
International flights resume tomorrow after four months of being suspended to contain the spread of Covid-19, which was first recorded in Kenya in March.
Mr Macharia said passengers coming in on international flights will be exempted from mandatory quarantine and the night movement restriction owing to curfew.
He said, however, passengers whose flight will arrive to Nairobi past the curfew hours, will have to show proof by use of their boarding passes. President Uhuru Kenyatta extended the curfew, which runs from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., early this month.
" Passengers arriving on flights after curfew hours will be allowed to proceed to their hotels or residences as so long as they have valid boarding passes and their drivers should have evidence that they are coming from airport to pick or drop passengers," Mr Macharia said.
Passengers will be required to have a negative Covid-19 certificate taken at least 96 hours before and would not exhibit coronavirus symptoms.