Individuals from Kenya have been temporarily suspended from travelling to Saudi Arabia following a controversial flight suspension by the kingdom that affects several other countries, over the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The announcement was made by state news agency SPA on Wednesday, March 11, citing an official source within the Kingdom’s Interior Ministry.
Besides Kenyans, the entry of citizens from several other countries including; India, Pakistan, Switzerland, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Sudan, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia and the European Union (EU) has been suspended
The kingdom has also temporarily suspended flights from Saudi Arabia to the aforementioned countries.
Passengers pictured at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) following a disruption on March 6, 2019
Saudi Arabia, so far, has 45 confirmed cases of the dreaded virus which was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday, March 11.
Despite several suspected cases, confirmed instances of the virus in Kenya remain at zero.
Notably, the decision by Saudi Arabia excluded health workers from the Philippines and India.
Several international carriers operate weekly flights from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to Kenya including Ethiopian Airlines, Turkish Airlines and Air Arabia.
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe disclosed on Friday, March 6, actions taken by the government to keep citizens and residents safe from the virus.
Among other things, all international conferences with more than fifteen participants to be held in the country were banned for 30 days.
“We are screening everyone at the border points. No one is going to come to Kenya without being screened in all our borders even if walking on foot
“We have met officials from EAC countries to cross-border enhance vigilance. 1,100 health workers have been trained and deployed in various facilities across the country, beginning with JKIA to handle any eventuality,” he assured.
The global COVID-19 death toll currently stands at over 4,200 with 119,000 confirmed cases around the world.
Some of the diseases that have been declared pandemic in the past include cholera, smallpox, influenza and bubonic plague that were ranked as the deadliest in the history of the world.
Terminal 1 A of the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA)