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Good news as U.K removes Kenya from COVID Red List

Kenya suspends flights to India on rising COVID-19 cases

The United Kingdom has removed Kenya from its COVID-19 Red List, signalling a boost in Kenya’s tourism sector.

According to the U.K, Kenya has been listed under traffic light amber, and will take effect starting September 22, 2021.

“Good news on a Friday evening – Kenya is off the red list.,” said UK Ambassador to Kenya Jane Marriot.

Tourism CS Najib Balala also welcomed U.K gesture and called on Kenyans to get vaccinated against the coronavirus pandemic which will go a long way to boost country’s economy through travelling.

“Great news! Kenya is out of the red list – UK. Travel is back! This is good for travel between the UK and Kenya without tough restrictions. Let’s support our economy by travelling,” said Tourism CS Najib Balala.

Kenyan Ambassador to UK Manoah Esipisu said “Kenya is off the UK travel Red List. Good news for business, tourism, students and their parents.”

On August 26, U.K updated its travel ban list and maintained Kenya on Red List at a time when tourism in the country traditionally peaks.

Besides Kenya other countries which have been removed from Red List include Pakistan, Turkey, Maldives, Egypt, Oman, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

The UK updated countries on England’s “Red List” amid concerns about the spread of new COVID-19 variants that had been reported in Kenya.

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U.K segments countries into green, amber and red lists, each carrying different degrees of restrictions for arrivals back to Britain.

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.

People coming from Green List countries don’t have to quarantine and have to provide evidence of two negative COVID tests, one before returning to the U.K and one on day two.

A move by U.K is a major boost for tourism sector in Kenya, a country popularly known for tourism destinations for UK citizens who are atop list of countries which significantly contribute largely to the tourism sector.

According to the Tourism Research Institute report released this year, tourists arrivals in the country were 305,635 with the UK coming in fifth with 16, 264 arrivals.

The United States topped the list with 49,178 arrivals followed by Uganda (31,418), Tanzania (31,291), and China (18,069.

In 2019, the U.K emerged fourth in ranking, with tourist visits of 181,484.

Kenya saw a significant drop in the number of international arrivals having registered a staggering Ksh.110 billion in losses in the year 2020.

The performance was against a projected Ksh.147.5 billion in revenues but only realised Ksh.37 billion in the wake of an unrelenting pandemic that has so far claimed more than 4,666 lives since March last year.

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Lawrence Baraza is a prolific writer with competencies in Digital Media, Print, and Broadcast. Baraza is also a Communication Practitioner currently spearheading Digital content on Metropol TV's Digital Desk.

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