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Hundreds of Kenyans stranded due to Covid-19 set to return home

By Everlyne Kwamboka | April 24th 2020

Hundreds of Kenyans stranded abroad due to Covid-19 travel ban have registered with embassies to help them return home.

The Kenyan citizens, who had travelled for business, work, medical issues and studies, are only banking on Kenyan offices in the countries where they are stranded to facilitate their travel.

For instance, a Kenya Airways flight carrying UK citizens is set to leave Jomo Kenyatta International Airport today at 9.30am for Heathrow airport in London and is expected back on Saturday with some of the Kenyans who will go for a mandatory quarantine for 14 to 28 days at their expense.

Passengers who had booked to travel back to London and had not undergone the Covid-19 test at Lancet by 10 am yesterday will not be allowed to board the flight.

This is because the airline had notified passengers to go for the test within 72 hours after receiving air tickets. They are expected to present a copy of medical results at the check-in counter, showing they do not have Covid-19.

Aviation guidelines

“Kenya Airways is adhering to Ministry of Health and Kenya Civil Aviation Authority guidelines, which specifies kitting of all crew in protective garb and PPE, sanitising of the aircraft interior prior to and after the flight. In addition, passengers on the flight will have medical certification allowing them to fly,” said the airline’s Director Corporate Communications and Public Affairs, Dennis Kashero.

Mr Kashero added that being a passenger flight, there was no requirement to have medics on board, adding that the airline’s priority remains the safety and security of its customers, crew and staff.

However, sources within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Health told The Standard yesterday that as at 4pm, the airline had not received clearance to fly to London.

In China, Ambassador Sarah Serem said the embassy in Beijing had received 164 requests from Kenyans ready to meet the cost of travel from the foreign land.

Ms Serem said the embassy would issue emergency travel documents to those with missing passports and liaise with the host country to get some form of amnesty in cases of minor criminal offences.

In Turkey, Kenyans whose visas have expired are expected to contact the embassy’s consular section.

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