Kenya: COVID-19 - Flight Ban Extended By 30 Days

(file photo).

Kenya has extended the ban on all international passenger flights by 30 days effective from Monday April 6.

No passenger flights will be allowed to land or take off from Kenyan airports except cargo planes and those evacuating foreigners.

This was announced on Sunday by Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia after coronavirus cases in the country rose to 142.

Macharia said those exempted from the flight ban will have to adhere to strict guidelines issued by the government.

"We have extended the ban on international flights for 30 more days with effect from April 6. Evacuation and cargo flights are exempted from this ban. However, evacuation flights must give advance 72-hour notice," said the CS.

Macharia's announcement comes as more foreign embassies in Nairobi continued to evacuate their citizens as virus spread fast.

On Monday, more than 100 foreigners from Japan and South Korea are set to leave Nairobi for their countries in hired private jets.

Sources said the foreigners are among thousands who have left the country and the region at large in the past week due to Covid-19.

Last week, dozens of German nationals left Mombasa in a hired jet for their country.

A number of embassies had been working with the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) and other government agencies and airlines to facilitate the repatriation of their citizens.

Kenya Airways came in handy and organized direct flights to the US, UK and Europe after they were approved by the government on request of the embassies.

On Wednesday, the US embassy urged US nationals who wanted to leave Nairobi to take advantage of the last direct flight by KQ that was scheduled to leave JKIA for John F Kennedy International Airport in New York at 9pm.

"Kenya Airways has indicated it will offer a flight for US citizens and US Lawful Permanent Residents departing JKIA on Wednesday, March 25, 2020, at 2100 hours, provided it can sell all the seats on this flight," the embassy told its nationals.

Some nationals complained the one-way ticket was too costly, with an economy class ticket on the flight going for about Sh335,000 per person, while the cost of a business class ticket went for Sh400,000.

German, Danish and Norwegian embassies had also been organising for the evacuation of their citizens.

The latest ban comes as the government on Sunday confirmed 16 more cases, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 142.

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