UK to enforce expanded travel ban from listed countries

The UK will begin enforcing a recent expansion of its “red list” country travel bans today. The bans are an attempt to limit the spread of mutated strains

Travel ban, UK, Kenya

Photo: Reuters

The UK will begin enforcing a recent expansion of its “red list” country travel bans today.

The bans are an attempt to limit the spread of mutated strains of COVID-19. Four new additions to the list are Bangladesh, Kenya, Pakistan and the Philippines, where more contagious variants have been identified. International visitors that have travelled through any of the list’s 39 countries will be refused entry to the UK.

Chief among the banned countries, Kenya has described London’s move as unscientific and discriminatory, arguing that it has logged far fewer COVID-19 cases than the UK. Kenya values its relationship with London, as the UK remains a top source market for Kenyan tourism. Since the pandemic began, Kenya has lost an estimated $1 billion in tourism revenue. Today’s enforcement by London will strike a fresh blow to Kenya’s already devastated tourism market.

In the short term, expect UK-Kenya relations to be strained by the travel bans. London has defended its decision to red list Kenya as recent travelers from the country have tested positive for a more contagious variant of COVID-19. However, as this reasoning was viewed as unsatisfactory, the Kenyan government has enacted tit-for-tat restrictions covering all incoming visitors from the UK.

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