Passengers coming to Kenya from Southern Africa countries will be required to undergo additional screening and quarantine following the emergence of a new Covid-19 strain.
The Ministry of Health announced the new measures amid news that a new Covid-19 super-variant with multiple mutations had been detected in South Africa’s greater Johannesburg region.
All passengers will further be required to have a negative Covid-19 PCR taken 96 hours before travel.
According to scientists from South Africa the new variant may be more infectious than the Delta variant that has spread around the world in the past year. The scientists say they were alarmed by the rapid spread of the variant and predictions point to an even faster spread.
Apart from Johannesburg, the variant has been detected in a number of South African provinces including areas just outside Gauteng. Internationally, the new variant has been detected in Botswana and Hong Kong. The Hong Kong case is a traveller who was coming from South Africa.
“One of the few good things to report is that we found this new variant very early,” said Prof Tulio De Oliveira who led the team of scientists at South Africa’s world-leading KRISP laboratory in KwaZulu-Natal province.
“We can make some predictions on what we already know about this variant, but we would really like to be wrong about those predictions. The next few days should tell us a lot more.”
The prevalence of the pandemic in Kenya had gone down considerably in the last one month. As of November 2021, the positivity rate was at 0.9 percent.
Since August, the country’s economy has been on a upward trajectory as more businesses reopen and employees resume regular work schedules. The Government has aggressively rolled out campaigns to get citizens vaccinated, with a target of vaccinating 10 million citizens by Christmas.
The Ministry of Health has urged Kenyan citizens to take advantage of the availability of vaccines in the country and get fully vaccinated.
Along with these, Kenyans are urged to continue adhering to the Covid-19 safety measures which include wearing masks, sanitizing and keeping social distance.
The United Kingdom has effectively banned flights from South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho and Zimbabwe.