His Excellency the President of the Republic of Kenya directed that International Air Travel would resume on 1st August, 2020 and instructed the Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing, Urban Development and Public Works to develop a Protocol to ensure the safety of travelers.
The Ministry in consultation with relevant stakeholders prepared a Protocol for Air Travel Operations during the Covid-19 Public Health Crisis. The protocol seeks to provide guidelines to ensure that air travel remains safe during the pandemic for domestic and international flights.
The Protocol recognizes that the adverse impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have been experienced in most sectors of the economy and the aviation industry is amongst the worst impacted.
The Protocol has therefore confirmed that:-
- All arriving passengers on international flights whose body temperature is NOT above 37.5° C (99.5°F); do NOT have a persistent cough, difficulty in breathing or other flu-like symptoms; have negative PCR based COVID – 19 test carried out within 96 hours before travel and are from countries considered low to medium risk COVID – 19 transmission areas shall be exempt from quarantine.
List of countries identified and announce yesterday from which travelers will be exempt from quarantine include:
• South Korea
Additional countries identified today following further review and Consultation between the Cabinet Secretaries responsible for Transport, Health and Tourism:
• The United States of America (except for California, Florida and Texas;
• United Kingdom
• United Arab Emirates
Review of countries from which travelers will not be required to be quarantined upon arrival will be undertaken by Ministry of Health on day to day basis. The Ministry will then advise the Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Urban Development and Housing for further action.
The risk profile of any country could change and therefore the status with regard to these clarifications and directives could also change.
We wish to emphasize and reiterate that from 1st August 2020 Kenyan Airspace will be open to authorized airlines and travelers. The issue is only whether the travelers will be required to quarantine upon arrival in Kenya due to the risk evaluation of respective countries. Those required to quarantine will do so at Government designated facility or at their home subject to prevailing guidelines.
- For those passengers traveling out of the country, they will be required to abide by the particular travel, health and COVID-19 related requirements of the destination country;
- Passengers arriving on flights after the curfew, with a valid Air Ticket and Boarding Pass shall be allowed to proceed to their hotels and/or residences;
- Drivers should have evidence that they have come from the Airport to drop or pick up passengers;
- Passengers departing on flights after the curfew, with a valid Air Ticket and Boarding Pass shall be allowed to proceed to their departure airport;
- Air Operators shall provide guidance material to passengers regarding application of the preventive measures on board;
- Where physical distancing cannot be guaranteed because of the seat configuration or other operational constraints, the crew members will make constant on-board announcements reminding passengers to adhere at all times to all the other preventive measures including strict hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette and should wear a surgical face mask. In addition and in such cases other measures such as cabin recirculation air filters will be put in place; and
- Working jointly with Kenya Airports Authority and Kenya Civil Aviation Authority, the Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing, Urban Development and Public Works is reviewing frequency and timing of flights to facilitate physical distancing at the Airports.
James W. Macharia, EGH