The United States of America has imposed a level three travel advisory on Kenya, downgrading it from the much safer level one category it was accorded last year. A level three travel advisory means that American citizens are advised to reconsider their trips to places with high COVID-19 infection rates, and only travel when it is absolutely necessary.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level three Travel Health Notice for Kenya due to COVID-19, indicating a high level of COVID-19 in the country,” the advisory from the US embassy in Nairobi read in part.

In June last year, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an Incidence 2 Travel Health Notice for Kenya due to COVID-19, suggesting a moderate level of infections in the country. The Notice was however downgraded to level three in August after a surge in cases. A Level Three advisory notice refers to countries where there have been between 100 and 500 cases recorded per 100,000 people in the last 28 days. Level One requires travellers to observe standard protocols such wearing masks, as infections are not high.

The new advisory could result in cancellation or postponement of trips from US travellers, hurting the tourism industry which has been ailing since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Kenya’s COVID-19 infection rate has been on a surge since December last year, when the Omicron variant was announced. According to the WHO, Kenya’s infection rate has crossed the high-risk limit of 5% since the curfew was lifted last year.

The downgrade comes a few weeks after the United Arab Emirates suspended al inbound passenger flights from Kenya to Dubai indefinitely due to a high number of infections of COVID-19 in the country, This was amid allegations of forged certifications given by Nairobi authorities.