As Kenya prepares to reopen its air space, the government has announced that passengers and tourists flying into the country won’t be placed under mandatory quarantine if they don’t exhibit Covid-19 symptoms.
Addressing members of the press on Wednesday, Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said the move is aimed at encouraging tourism in order to boost the sector worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
The CS said an individual will only be quarantined if they show signs such as body temperatures above 37.5 degree Celsius, a persistent cough, difficulty in breathing and other flu-like symptoms.
“All passengers shall be exempt from quarantine on arrival at their destinations if their body temperature is not above 37.5 37.5 degree Celsius and they do not have a persistent cough, difficulty in breathing and other flu-like symptoms. This is important because we do not expect a tourist to come from wherever, they land here and then they are quarantined for 14 days, ” he said.
Macharia explained that in a scenario where there is a suspected case in a flight, crew members shall be quarantined at home while those within two rows of the passenger with symptoms shall be tested.
If the passenger tests negative, Macharia said, they shall be allowed to leave the airport. If they test positive, they shall be quarantined in accordance with Ministry of Health guidelines.
On the other hand, the CS stated that if the crew test negative for COVID-19, they shall be allowed to resume normal duties.
“Where layovers are necessary, crew members shall not be allowed to leave their hotel rooms, except in cases of emergency,” he added.
All incoming passengers will be required to provide a Covid-19 free certificate before being allowed into the country.
Macharia added that social distancing directive won’t apply in planes. He said that if airlines carry less than 75 per cent of their capacity they will incur losses.
International flights are set to resume on August 1 while local flights will resume from next week, July 15.
“A number of airlines have confirmed that they will resume providing local air passenger transport services to various destinations across Kenya once the airspace is opened on July 15,” said Macharia.
“These airlines include Kenya Airways, JamboJet, Aim Air, Boskovic Air, and Scenic Safaris. We shall get a lot more airlines coming forward because this is something Kenyans have been looking forward to.”