Nairobi News

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British lawmaker questions Kenya’s exclusion Covid-19 ‘Red List’

A British MP has aired concerns over the exemption of Kenya from the list of countries whose passengers are required to undergo mandatory quarantine before entering the country.

The UK recently released their Covid-19 ‘red list’ from the 33 “high-risk” countries which are required to undergo a 10-day mandatory quarantine in government-designated facilities upon arrival in the UK effective February 15.

Since Kenya has not been included in the red list, travelers from Kenya are required to self-quarantine at home after arrival to the UK.

Dr Julian Tang, a virologist at Leicester University, told the Guardian ‘countries like Kenya’ should be on the list since its Covid-19 patterns are still under watch.

A  group of UK parliamentarians also share the same view on Kenya and several other countries including the US, Denmark, Sweden, Japan, Norway, Switzerland, Canada, and Belgium should have been included in the red list.

Nick Thomas-Symonds, Labour Shadow Home Secretary said these measures are not fair nor adequate.

“The government’s plans around quarantine are in disarray. Not only do they fail to go far enough – leaving open the door to potential vaccine-resistant strains, but they also can’t implement the half-baked plans that have been announced,” he said.

He added that the new method of “selective red listing” would erode the gain made in the fight against Covid-19.

“It’s not good enough. This virus spreads like wildfire. If you let some people in but not others, from a virology point of view, it’s fairly futile,” Tang said.

Under the new rules, travelers will be picked by a government vehicle once they land in the UK and will be transported to a quarantine facility (hotel) at their own cost.

However, they will have to pay for their 10-day stay which is not cheap. It will cost them Ksh198,000 for the whole stay.

The tighter travel restrictions are designed to reduce the introduction and transmission of new Covid-19 variants.

Some of the countries included in the red list include Brazil, Botswana, DR Congo, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Portugal, Zambia, Angola, Malawi, Burundi, and Mozambique.

On Tuesday, the UK government said that those who lie about their recent travels will get a 10-year jail term.

While defending the move, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the British public “would expect pretty strong action” and the maximum sentence reflects the seriousness of the crime.