Three weeks ago, The Kenya Airways Suspended all direct flights to and from China. The unanimous decision of the suspension of the flights was joined in by China Southern airlines who suspended their flights to and from Guangzhou on 10th February. The suspension of the flights was to prevent importing Covid19 into the country. This being the case, Kenyans were baffled to witness a China Southern airlines plane land at JKIA flying 239 passengers from China and to learn that there shall be More Incoming Flights From China
On reaching JKIA, the plane was reportedly almost made to turn back after officials at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) refused to clear passengers from Guangzhou as tension over coronavirus continued to rise. According to the Nation, the stalemate took some time but eventually, the passengers were allowed to alight. The video of the plane landing at JKIA on Wednesday 26th quickly went viral and sparked mixed feelings among netizens.
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Thoughts On The Issue
A section of Kenyans questioned the government’s commitment to keeping citizens safe from the virus. “So, we wait till we get infected then we stop the flights?” asked Dee Naani. Others wondered how tourists were being allowed to come into the country while over 100 Kenyan students were still stuck in Wuhan. “They’re landing yet Kenyans are stuck in China and can’t move. Are we a colony of China?” posed Peter Muoki on Twitter.
Kenya’s ambassador to China, Sarah Serem had advised against evacuation of the students claiming it was too dangerous. Last week, Jeffrey Okundi spoke to Citizen expressing the woes of Suffering Kenyan Students in Wuhan. Seeing that the students have not been prioritized after the airlines were opened has evoked concern among citizens. The The Ministry of Health confirmed the resumption in a statement.
In the statement, the 239 passengers who arrived at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) on a China Southern Airlines flight on Wednesday, February 26, were advised to quarantine themselves for a 14-day period. “China Southern Airlines resumed its flights to Nairobi today. All 239 passengers were screened on-board, cleared and advised to self-quarantine for the next 14 days,” the statement read in part.
The Chinese Embassy
This information was also not taken lightly by Kenyans. For instance, Bel Akinyi voiced her opinion, “Kenya is playing with fire, voluntary self-quarantine? Cancel the flights from China,” On the other hand, The Chinese Embassy to Kenya has assured Kenyans of the country’s commitment to preventing the spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus disease in Kenya. In a statement by the Chinese Embassy in Kenya, China indicated that the flights by the airline had been reduced from three to only one flight per week from Guangzhou to Nairobi until March 25, 2020.
“The Airlines will notify the Ministry of Health in advance and all passengers will have to undergo screening and clearance. The embassy will send officials to the airport for assistance, and before the arrival of the flight, the embassy reminded all Chinese companies and diaspora groups in Kenya of the 14-day self-quarantine requirements. Chinese nationals entering Kenya should cooperate with the Ministry of Health and strictly isolate themselves.”
“For those Chinese nationals in quarantine, we have provided their information to the Ministry of Health and requested the Chinese companies and diaspora groups to provide necessary volunteer service” read the statement. So, yeah. Expect More Incoming Flights From China.