Kenya has hit out at the United Kingdom after London added the it to its coronavirus travel red list. In a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kenya claims the decision was discriminatory and lacked logic and scientific knowledge of the disease or the spread of the pandemic.

The UK recently announced new travel restrictions against travelers from Kenya saying it had established the South African coronavirus variant was fast spreading locally in the country. The announcement meant that Kenyans or anybody transiting through Kenyan airports is banned from setting foot in the UK starting on April 9.

Two days later, Nairobi responded with its own measures, banning passenger flights originating or transiting through UK airports for a month. Other mandatory requirements include against the UK include

  • Passengers from the UK will be required to produce negative COVID-19 certificates and valid COVID-19 vaccine certifications.
  • Only cargo flights are exempt from the ban. But crew members will be required to present both a vaccination certificate and a negative PCR certificate. The measures take effect on April 9.
  • Kenya Airways, the country’s flag carrier has scheduled two repatriation flights to carry nationals and other passengers home before the measures kick in.
  • UK government officials and diplomats would be required to present valid COVID-19 vaccination certificates and negative PCR test certificates before entering the country, Kenya’s foreign affairs ministry said.

“The UK will not accept foreign nationals traveling from/via Kenya to the U.K. .Due to the increased demand for travel to the UK before the advisory takes effect, we have added 2 new flights on 4th and 8th April,” said Kenya Airways, in a statement.

Trade between Kenya and the U.K reached Ksh. 100.8 billion ($1.8 billion) in 2019. The COVID-19 travel restrictions row is the latest to test these bonds.

Kenya has also accused London of hoarding vaccines saying it had more than it needs. “Sadly, however, Kenya continues to see, with deep regret, that vaccine producing countries around the world have begun practicing a form of vaccine nationalism, possessiveness and discrimination, coupled with a vaccine hoarding attitude that can only be described as a form of vaccine apartheid.”, the statement said.

The UK has ordered more than 400 million coronavirus vaccine doses, for a population of around 67 million people. The country has so far administered over 31 million doses. Kenya, which has a population of 53 million, has received just over a million Astra Zeneca vaccine doses from COVAX.