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JKIA, Kenya's main international airport and regional hub for flight to Europe, America and other key destinations/FILE

EASED RESTRICTIONS

Kenya removed from the UK red list in revised COVID-19 travel regulations

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 18 – Kenya has been removed from the UK red list in revised coronavirus travel regulations.

The UK announced Friday that the new changes in regards to travel restrictions will take effect from Wednesday, September 22 at 4am.

UK’s Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the country will be revising the vaccination regulations in the country to ease travel, which will allow fully vaccinated travelers into the UK without taking COVID-19 tests, beginning October 4.

“We’re making testing easier for travel from Mon 4 Oct, if you’re fully vaccinated you won’t need a pre-departure test before arrival into England from a non-red country and from later in Oct, will be able to replace the day 2 PCR test with a cheaper lateral flow,” Shapps said.

However, any traveler who will arrive in the UK before September 22 is expected to follow the red list rules, to be allowed into the country.

Bangladesh, Egypt, the Maldives, Oman, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Turkey were also struck off the red list.

Effective October 4, England is set to welcome fully vaccinated travellers from a host of new countries – who will be treated like returning fully vaccinated UK travellers – including 17 countries and territories such as Japan and Singapore, following the success of an existing pilot with the US and Europe, the Transport Department indicated..

The revision of the COVID-19 travels rules, replacing the traffic-light system and relaxing the testing regulations is expected to revive the tourism sector which has suffered the brunt of strict COVID-19 regulations across the globe.

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Shapps added that the UK will also simplify the international travel by changing their approach to focus on a single red list.

“We’ll also be introducing a new simplified system for international travel from Monday 4 Oct, replacing the current approach with a single red list and simplified measures for the rest of the world – striking the right balance to manage the public health risk as No.1 priority,” he stated.

On July 27, the UK demanded a top mark COVID-19 test from President Uhuru Kenyatta and his team before entering the country during his visit after being exempted from the travel ban that existed at the time.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government demanded that Kenyan officials take the PCR test which detects whether someone has contracted the virus, in what was termed as a step to safeguard the health of the UK Prime Minster and the royal family including all those who would interact with the Kenyan delegates during the tour.

Kenya hopes to harness the eased travel regulations to revive the tourism sector which according to a report published in June 2020 had seen massive booking cancellations.

About 64.5 per cent of the respondents that took part in the National Tourism Risk and Crisis Management Committee survey reported over 90 per cent of cancellations of existing bookings experienced by their organizations.

The organizations also reporter total business closure, increased borrowings and eviction from current premises due to unpaid running costs as other impacts of the pandemic on their businesses.

The report further suggested that the international tourist market was the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic (81.3 per cent), followed by the domestic (64.2 per cent) and regional tourist markets (38.3 per cent).

The report recommended that there was need for Kenya to expand the domestic market to cushion the destination in times of crises.

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