UK removes Kenya, 7 others from its ‘Red List’ travel ban

UK removes Kenya, 7 others from its ‘Red List’ travel ban

In a decision announced on Friday, the United Kingdom removed Kenya and seven other destinations from its Red list to Amber in changes expected to ease travel. 

Kenyan travelers will be excluded from mandatory hotel quarantine, though they may be compelled to isolate for 10 days and submit to tests.

Egypt, the Maldives, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Oman, Bangladesh, and Pakistan have also been removed from the Red List.

The red list imposes strict restrictions on travelers from specific regions that are deemed risky.

The UK Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, stated that the reforms are intended to “simplify international travel in order to save costs, take advantage of improved levels of vaccination, and keep us all safe.”

“We are making travel easier,” he remarked. “If you are entirely vax, you will not need pre-departure testing before arriving into England from a non-red nation starting Monday, 4 October, and later in October, we will be able to replace the Day 2 PCR test with a cheaper lateral flow,” he added.

Being removed off the Red List means saving money on hotel bills for Kenyan travelers, since all arrivals were required to prepay for quarantine facilities.

Kenya was added to the UK red list in April this year, and visitors who had been in or transited through Kenya in the previous 10 days of the notice refused entry into England.

“British, Irish and third-country nationals with residence rights arriving from these countries will be required to quarantine in a Government-approved facility for 10 days,” the statement issued by the British High Commission said .

Bangladesh, Pakistan and Philippines were also be added to the red list travel ban.

In a letter to the Kenyan Foreign Ministry, the British High Commission said the difficult decision was taken by UK Ministers on March 31 following a review of the scientific evidence of the time,  pertaining to the risk of community transmission of COVID- 19 variants.

Of the average of 550 people that travel from Kenya to the UK each week, a significant number are testing positive on Day 2. Nearly a third of those testing positive have been carrying the B.1.351 variant, which originated in South Africa,” the letter read.