Kenyans travelling to the UK now exempted from mandatory quarantine

Previously only UK citizens and residents were allowed to enter.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Kenya is one of eight countries that have been removed from the United Kingdom's Red List. This means travellers from Kenya will be exempted from compulsory hotel quarantine.

The decision was announced by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps on Friday through a series of tweets.. He said he hoped the new measures would “strike the right balance to manage the public health risk as No.1 priority”.

He tweeted: “We’re making testing easier for travel. From Mon 4 Oct, if you’re fully vax you won’t need a pre-departure test before arrival into England from a non-red country and from later in Oct, will be able to replace the day 2 PCR test with a cheaper lateral flow.”

Other countries removed from the Red List are Egypt, Maldives, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Oman, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Reduction of cost

The Transport Secretary earlier promised to set out new measures to “simplify international travel” in order to “reduce costs, take advantage of higher levels of vaccination, and keep us all safe”.

Being removed from the Red List means saving on hotel bills as all arrivals had been required to prepay for those facilities for quarantine.

Instead, they will be subjected to easier regime of rules that will include testing for Covid-19, if staying longer than a day in the country. The cost of testing will, however, be lower from next month.

UK nationals had been barred from travelling to those countries, and passengers from those countries had been barred from travelling to the UK. Nationals arriving from Red List countries were required to quarantine at specified hotels, at their cost.

Kenya was placed on the Red List in April as it was then considered to either having high cases of Covid-19 or a poor surveillance of cases to prevent infection.

Kenya protested the ranking, arguing it was being punished in spite of having fewer infections than the UK.

"I know this has been difficult but our Kenya-UK partnership remains strong," said Jane Marriott the current UK High Commissioner to Kenya.

The new rules

“We’ll also be introducing a new simplified system for international travel from Mon 4 Oct , replacing the current approach with a single red list and simplified measures for the rest of the world - striking the right balance to manage the public health risk as No.1 priority,” said Shapps.

Fully vaccinated travelers will no longer need to take a pre-departure test before arrival into England from a non red list country from October 4.

Later in October, travellers will be able to take a cheaper lateral flow test instead of the day 2 PCR test.

Known as the ‘Traffic-light system’, the UK had been categorising countries as Red, Amber and Green with each category having a separate set of conditions for passengers wishing to travel to the UK.

Those not recognised as fully vaccinated with authorised vaccines and certificates under England’s international travel rules, will still have to take a pre-departure test, a day 2 and day 8 PCR test and self-isolate for 10 days upon their return from a non-red list country under the new two-tiered travel programme.

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