The resumption of international flights is a breath of fresh air after four months of very little global travel. At the onset of Covid-19 pandemic in Kenya, the Government stopped these flights to prevent more importation of the virus.
With over 20,000 confirmed infections in Kenya, flights have now resumed, but with strict conditions. The Government has drawn a list of countries whose residents are allowed in.
According to the Government these are countries that have mild or limited community transmissions.
This call for extra vigilance at all points of entry. Already, some countries in Europe and America are experiencing second and third waves of infections, hence the need to be more vigilant.
Failure to do so could put our country in a situation we might not control. It is assuring to note that the move to reopen the skies is not a blanket approval without checks and balances.
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The Government will first require a valid Covid-19-free certificate which is not more than 96 hours, and which must be based on the polymerase chain reaction test. It is now upon the authorities to ensure these rules are adhered to even as the public is continuously reminded to take personal caution. While travellers into the country will not be forced to quarantine, they will need to ensure that they do not expose others in their way. It must also be remembered that a negative test for coronavirus is only as good as at the time the sample was collected and the status might have changed.
It will, therefore, be incumbent upon each traveller to not only take precautions to avoid contracting the virus after sample collection – assuming they are not already infected - but also ensure safety after by staying negative as they come into the country.
Even then, airlines must ensure passengers are safe in the flights and this will involve ensuring all travellers follow the measures in place to protect themselves, including wearing face masks properly, washing hands and sanitising regularly and making sure there is sufficient disinfection of flight cabins.
The resumption of international flights should not make airports the new hotspots for coronavirus infection. This can only happen if all stakeholders including passengers follow public health regulations strictly.