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Home / Health & Science

Kenya suspends passenger flights from India

HEALTH & SCIENCEBy ROSA AGUTU | Thu,Apr 29 2021 19:22:30 EAT
By ROSA AGUTU | Thu,Apr 29 2021 19:22:30 EAT

 Kenya Airways planes at Jomo Kenyatta Airport (JKIA), Nairobi [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Kenya has suspended all passenger flights from India for 14 days following a surge in Covid-19 cases there. The directive will take effect on midnight Saturday, May 1 to allow those traveling to arrive as scheduled.

Mutahi Kagwe, the Cabinet Secretary for Health said all passengers from India in the next 72 hours will go through mandatory testing besides observing a 14-day quarantine that shall be monitored by health officials, but cargo flights will remain in service subject to transport protocols.

India, a country of over 1.4 billion people has been hit hard by the world’s worst second wave of the Covid-19 infection, recording 300,000 plus infection daily. It has a total of 18 million infections and over 200,000 deaths with over 3000 recorded in the last 24 hours alone.

Crematoriums are so overwhelmed some are cremating on the streets.  Hospitals have also been overwhelmed and most have been turning patients away following the shortage of oxygen, intensive care units and ventilators.

India is a big trading partner with Kenya besides being a choice destination for medical tourism and source pharmaceutical products and medicine. Many Kenyans travel to India for specialised treatment and the current crisis is not only affecting patients and business people but also access to vaccines after India halted all exports of Astra Zeneca to deal with the crisis first.

What went wrong in India?

Experts have blamed the premature relaxation of measures that saw over three million people attend the holy ceremony Kumbh Mela featuring a dip into the Ganges River ignoring all Covid-19 containment protocols.

India also exported a lot of its medical oxygen only for the shortage to be met by soaring numbers during the second wave. This shortage has now paralyzed the health system and no new admissions are being allowed due to lack of oxygen.

India’s population density did not help matters. It only created the perfect environment for viruses to mutate.

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