Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: Kenya issues new entry directives for arriving passengers ahead of planned Aug. 1 resumption of international commercial flights.

  • Alert Begins: 31 Jul 2020 11:22 PM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 27 Aug 2020 11:59 PM UTC
  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Affected Area(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Business and travel disruptions; increased security

Authorities in Kenya have issued new directives on entry into the country ahead of the planned Aug. 1 resumption of international flights. Under the new regulations, all passengers arriving from countries deemed to be low-to-medium risk coronavirus disease (COVID-19) transmission areas will be exempt from having to quarantine upon arrival, provided they produce proof of testing negative for COVID-19 using a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test no earlier than 96 hours before arrival. Countries identified by the government in Nairobi as being low-to-medium risk are: Canada, South Korea, Namibia, Uganda, China, Rwanda, Morocco, Japan, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Switzerland, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Netherlands, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Italy, and the United States (except the states of California, Florida and Texas). Authorities will review the list daily.

In addition, passengers must not exhibit symptoms characteristic of COVID-19. Passengers required to quarantine will stay at government-designated facilities or at their home.

Moreover, the following new directives also enter into force Aug. 1:


  • Movement to and from airports during the nationwide 2100-0400 curfew is permitted if passengers hold valid tickets and boarding passes. Drivers may be asked to prove their passengers are en route to or from airports.


  • Passengers traveling out of Kenya will be required to abide by the health and COVID-19-related requirements of the destination country.


  • Travelers must adhere to any preventative measures put in place by airlines and flight crews.


The new guidelines follow the July 27 extension of the nationwide curfew 2100-0400 for an additional 30 days. On July 28, authorities imposed a 30-day ban on the sale of alcoholic beverages in restaurants, as well as limited the hours of operation to 0800-1900.

Other measures that remain in place include:


  • Bars remain closed until further notice.


  • Religious services may take place; however, classes at churches and madrassas remain suspended until further notice.


  • Protective face coverings must be worn in public areas, including in private vehicles and while using public transportation.


  • International maritime and other water travel is prohibited. Cargo transport continues to operate under the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Transportation guidelines.


Authorities could reimpose, extend, further ease, or otherwise amend any restrictions with little-to-no notice depending on disease activity over the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by Kenyan authorities are similar to those actions taken by other governments globally in response to the spread of COVID-19, a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

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