Dubai on Monday, December 20 banned all inbound and transit passenger flights from Kenya for a 48-hour period.
The ban took effect on 9.20 am on December 20. The move comes amid a surge in reported infections of Covid-19 and the emergence of the first Omicron variant cases in Kenya.
Cargo and passenger flights from Dubai to Nairobi will, however, not be affected.
“Please be informed that the operations of all air transport services for inbound and transit passenger movements to Emirates of Dubai from any point in the Republic of Kenya are temporarily suspended for 48 hours effective December 20, 2021,” Dubai authorities noted.
Airlines operate several flights a week on the Dubai-Nairobi route. Emirates Airlines confirmed suspension of booking for flights from Nairobi to Dubai.
“Customers will not be accepted for travel on Emirates flights at Nairobi during this time,” the company noted.
As of Sunday, December 19, the Covid-19 positivity rate in Kenya stood at 24.4 percent, the highest rate recorded since March 2021 – when the third wave was at its peak. Health Cabinet Secretary confirmed the first cases of the Omicron variant in Kenya last week.
The Omicron variant likely will spread more easily than the original virus but how easily Omicron spreads compared to the Delta variant remains unknown. Scientists around the world have been working to better understand the variant and find the most effective treatment.
Its spread had resulted in travel bans and restrictions from various countries. The targeting of Southern Africa for travel bans was met with uproar as it emerged that the variant was already spreading in Europe before being detected in South Africa.
The United Kingdom on Tuesday, November 15 announced the removal of 11 African countries from the red list re-introduced in November following the emergence of the Omicron variant.