Covid-19: Kenya added to UK's 'red list' travel ban

Friday April 02 2021

Unused check-in desks at Heathrow airport Terminal 5 in west London on September 9, 2019. PHOTO | AFP

By Amina Wako

The United Kingdom has banned people travelling from Kenya from entering England starting April 9 to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. 

Kenya is among four counties that have been added to the UK’s red list amid concerns about new Covid-19 variants.

Travellers, who have departed from or transited through Kenya, the Philippines, Pakistan and Bangladesh in the previous 10 days will be refused entry into England.

Only British and Irish citizens or residents will be allowed to enter the country from these nations from 4am on Friday April 9.

They will be required to arrive into a designated port.

In an update on the GOV.UK website, the UK said some travellers from Kenya have tested positive for the South African variant.


“Of the average of 550 people that travel from Kenya to the UK each week, a significant number are testing positive on Day 2. Nearly a third of those positive have been carrying the B.1.351 variant, which originated in South Africa,” the update said. 

The update said no direct flight bans from these countries will be put in place, but passengers are advised to check their travel plans before departing for England.

The British High Commission in Kenya in a letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the directive is a temporary measure that will be kept under review.

“The travel restrictions will only remain in place whilst the level of risk is assessed to justify these measures,” the commission said. 

Here is a full list of countries currently on the UK's red list:

  • Angola
  • Argentina
  • Bangladesh (will be added to the list 4am Friday 9 April)
  • Bolivia
  • Botswana
  • Brazil
  • Burundi
  • Cape Verde
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Ecuador
  • Eswatini
  • Ethiopia
  • French Guiana
  • Guyana
  • Kenya (will be added to the list 4am Friday 9 April)
  • Lesotho
  • Malawi
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Oman
  • Pakistan (will be added to the list 4am Friday 9 April)
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Philippines (will be added to the list 4am Friday 9 April)
  • Qatar
  • Rwanda
  • Seychelles
  • Somalia
  • South Africa
  • Suriname
  • Tanzania
  • United Arab Emirates (UAE)
  • Uruguay
  • Venezuela
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe