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We have not banned anyone, CS Macharia says of Tanzania flights row

By Jael Mboga | August 1st 2020

Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia (pictured) has denied that there is a diplomatic row with Tanzania that is hurting movement between the two countries.

He was responding to reports by the East African country that it will not allow any Kenya Airways (KQ) flights between Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar effective August 1.

In a statement seen by Standard Digital, the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority added: “This also rescinds our previous arrangements that permit KQ flights into the Republic of Tanzania.”

But speaking at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on Saturday, CS Macharia said "we have not banned anyone."

He said Kenya only assessed the risk to allow travellers from certain countries with the Covid-19 certificate.

According to the CS, travellers with the certificate showing they had been tested within 96 hours do not need to be quarantined.

Tanzania was responding to an earlier announcement by CS Macharia on countries from which travellers will be exempted from quarantine when international flights resume. Tanzania was not on the list.

"We have not closed the airspecae for any travellers," said the Transport CS as he tried to downplay the row.
He added that the list of 19 countries is still being reviewed and will keep changing based on how countries continue to manage the spread of the disease within its borders.
Macharia said he met his Tanzania counterpart Engineer Isack Kamwelwe and insisted that Kenya has not banned travellers from Tanzania.
He said the advisory from Tanzania will be reversed.
Macharia questioned why much attention lay on Tanzania, saying it was not the only country missing from the list.

He attributed the situation to gaps in different countries' management of coronavirus.

Tanzania resumed international flights and cross-border transportation on May 19, after President John Magufuli declared that the country was free of Covid-19.

"The corona disease has been eliminated thanks to God," Magufuli told worshippers in a church in  Dodoma.

The East African Business Council called on Kenya and Tanzania to implement an East African Community approach over the matter.

Executive director Dr Peter Mathuki said the two countries should prioritise decisions that promote intra-EAC trade and revive sectors hurt by the ongoing pandemic.

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