Kenyan Travellers Under Scrutiny in the UK Parliament

A woman at the airport checking the arrival departure board
  • Parliamentarians in the British Parliament have raised concerns over the exclusion of Kenya from the list of countries that should be put on mandatory quarantine upon arrival in the country.

    The UK had earlier announced a quarantine scheme where it would detain arrivals from high-risk countries. The new regulation requires visitors to be quarantined for 10 days in a hotel from February 15 before they are allowed to enter the UK.

    33 countries that are perceived to be high-risk countries having recorded highly infectious variants of Covid-19 had been put on the UK’s ‘red-list’.

    Missing from the list were Kenya as well as Austria, Denmark, France, Greece, Japan, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, Canada, and the United States, countries which the parliamentarians and scientists stated should have a mandatory quarantine.

    A woman at the airport checking the arrival departure board

    According to the new rules, people arriving from countries not on the list, wouldn’t be forced into quarantine in a hotel but will be trusted to quarantine at home, increasing the risk that these mutations could spread even further.

    Labour Shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds stated that the measures were inadequate. 

    “The government’s plans around quarantine are in disarray. Not only do they fail to go far enough – leaving open the door to potential vaccine-resistant strains, but they also can’t implement the half-baked plans that have been announced,” Thomas Symonds was quoted by The Guardian.

    Dr. Julian Tang, a virologist at Leicester University, advocated for the addition of the countries under watch including Kenya, noting that the selective isolation would roll back the gains the country had made in containing the virus.

    “It’s not good enough. This virus spreads like wildfire. If you let some people in but not others, from a virology point of view, it’s fairly futile,” Tang told The Sunday Times.

    British Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier in February said that travellers would still be allowed to come to the UK from a “red list†of high-risk countries.

    “They will be met at the airport and transported directly into quarantine. The Department of Health and Social Care is working to establish these facilities as quickly as possible,” he stated.

    Passengers would have to pay for their own stay in isolation which would amount to £1,500 (Ksh198,000) for the stay.

    An image of Boris Johnson
    UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrives at the Conservative Party’s headquarters in central London on Tuesday 23rd July 2019.