Alarm as Kenya extends ban on flights from and to India over deadly COVID-19

By Ben Kirira On Thu, 20 May, 2021 11:23 | 2 mins read

Travelers in India interested in traveling to Kenya for various reasons have no much of an option but to cancel their plans, following a new 30-day extension on air travel ban from India to Kenya and vice versa.

The move, as revealed by Ministry of Health Director General Dr. Patrick Amoth, was recently imposed by the Ministry of Health on Friday the 14th of May, and is set to lapse on Sunday 13th June 2021.

The move however comes as a heart shattering declaration to Kenyans who had traveled to India to seek treatment, and will now be forced to call India home for the stipulated period of time.

The situation in India continues to not only ravage its health care system, but also cause alarm globally. The severity of the B.1.617 double mutant variant has since branded the country the Covid-19 epicenter, with the most recent weekly average tallying at 307,913 Covid-19 positive cases.

SECOND DOSE OF ASTRAZENECA

There is hope however for Kenya, as the Democratic Republic of Congo is surrendering back to the Covax facility some of the 1.3 million Oxford Astrazeneca vaccine doses. According to the DG, some of these doses could land in Kenya to facilitate the second dose administration.

“Within the African Union (AU) platform, DRC Congo for example did not use Astrazeneca, so we are also talking about redistribution within African region. We are having bilateral discussions with other countries to see if they are not able to use their vaccines can we be able to share,” he said.

This comes as a relief to Kenya which is currently staring at a likely delay in administration of the second dose of the Oxford Astrazeneca vaccine, even after extension of the period which one should wait after receiving the first dose from 8 weeks to 12 weeks.

“As a developing country, we have vaccinated a very small proportion of our population,” the Director General said as he noted that efforts by the developed nations to vaccinate and protect their population are quite notable and bearing fruit, but might be reversed if at all developing nations turn into a hotspot for mutation of the virus due to unavailability of adequate vaccines.

BRACE YOURSELVES FOR NEXT PEAK SEASON

For the second week in a row, Kenyans have witnessed a drop in Covid-19 positive cases, an indication of a notable control of the spread of the virus. However, it is anticipated that in the months of June and July, Kenya will experience a peak season of the pandemic (judging from the pandemic’s pattern).

“We had a meeting with the County executive committee members for health which was chaired by CS Mutahi Kagwe, and we told them to be able to prepare and ramp up operations especially in terms of; Isolation capacity, Critical care and more specifically supply and piping of oxygen,” the Director General told K24.

In line with achieving a substantial protection, the government through the Ministry of Health has received funding from the World bank to support 16 counties, and additional support from AMREF to support an extra 5 counties.

“Also, they should be able to use their own revenue from their allocations to be able to invest more in critical care and oxygen piping, including liquid bulk oxygen plants, PSA ” he further stated.

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