NAIROBI, Kenya, May 8 – The first batch of Kenyans who were stuck in India since March when the South Asian nation was placed under lockdown over coronavirus fears arrived in the country on Thursday.
India is a known destination for Kenyans seeking medical treatment, the imposition of the lockdown leaving many stranded after flights were cancelled. Kenya also suspended international flights; further restraining patients set for return flights from traveling back to Nairobi.
Others had traveled for business, as tourists as well as visiting their relatives but were caught up by the lockdown.
The first group of 232 passengers aboard a special facilitated Kenya Airways flight from Mumbai arrived on Thursday night and was received by Foreign Affairs Chief Administrative Secretary Ababu Namwamba.
“At JKIA last night Hon Ababu Namwamba receiving a section of the 232 passengers from 6 cities in India aboard the special facilitated flight KQ205 from Mumbai. The sense of relief and joy for being back home was palpable,” the Foreign Office tweeted.
Kenya High Commission in New Delhi, India struck a deal with the national carrier to fly home Kenyans on condition that they will undergo mandatory quarantine upon arrival into the country.
Those returning home however paid for their tickets.
The Kenyan Embassy in Beijing has made a similar arrangement with Kenya Airways to repatriate citizens stranded in China.
Those travelling will however be required to produce a clearance certificate from an accredited health facility confirming they are coronavirus-free and will be required to pay for their tickets.
Upon arrival the passengers will also be required to undergo a 14-day mandatory quarantine period.
Last week, Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Ambassador Macharia Kamau announced plans to repatriate about 500 Kenyans stranded in China, India and UK at their own costs.
The PS said the country has lost 18 Kenyans to coronavirus-related complications in foreign countries, adding that one is still hospitalized at a Sweden hospital in critical condition.