Kenyans stranded in India due to the Covid-19 crisis arrived back home on Thursday.
They were required to produce a Covid-19 negative test conducted four days prior to their travel, and thereafter underwent a rapid test in compliance with Ministry of Health directives.
The flight landed at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at 11am and after screening, most were allowed to self-quarantine for the next 14 days.
Dr Willis Akhwale, the chairman of the Covid-19 Vaccine Taskforce, said those still in India are expected on June 15.
“We ensured that they underwent vigorous rapid tests when they arrived and samples taken for genome sequencing. The results will be ready in the next few days when they will still be quarantining,” he explained.
The travellers, according to the Kenya Airways (KQ) chief executive Allan Kilavuka, had left Mumbai for Nairobi at 9.30am.
Earlier, Dr Akhwale had said that only those with the negative PCR test taken within 96 hours would be allowed to go home.
“When they arrive, we will check on their documents and conduct a rapid test on arrival to ensure that those who contracted the virus while on transit are detected and isolated,” he said.
“If the test turns negative, they will have to self-quarantine for 14 days at their homes, but should it turn positive, they will have to undergo mandatory quarantine in 10 selected isolation centres in the country at their cost.
The list provided by the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Council included the cost and the places available for the travellers.
The approved private isolation centres include Hilton Garden Inn at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at Sh13,000 a night, Waridi Paradise Hotel and Suites and Royal Tulip Hotel (Chaka Road) at Sh10,000, Ngong Hills Hotel on Ngong road at Sh9,000, and Swiss Lenana Mount Hotel at Sh8,500. Mombasa Beach Hotel charges Sh9,000 a night, Reef Hotel (Mombasa) Sh8,000 and Ufungamano Guest House (Nairobi), the Strand Leisure Hotel (Nairobi West) and Covent Int. Hotel (Nairobi) charge Sh7, 000 a night.
To control the spread of the deadly Indian variant, Dr Patrick Amoth, the acting director-general in the Health ministry said a mandatory antigen test for Covid-19 will be done upon arrival of passengers at JKIA.
“We’re going to focus on positive people who are likely to be the minority. But, people should know that before you enter Kenya, you must have proof of a negative PCR test.”
The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA), in an official notice to Kenyans arriving from India, says that existing Covid-19 containment measures shall apply to flights and all passengers.
The Indian variant was first detected in the country last month when five foreigners who flew in from India travelled to Kisumu and later tested positive.