Kenyan authorities have issued a seven-day travel ban on flights to and from the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The move is a response to an extended sanction issued by Dubai, which banned all passenger flights from Kenya.
Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) Director-General, Gilbert Kibe confirmed that the ban took effect on January 10, 2021 and was responding to the ban imposed by the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA) on December 20, 2021.
The ban issued by UAE authorities was a result of the detection of numerous falsified COVID-19 documents issued by private medical testing centers in Kenya. An AllAfrica report reveals UAE authorities discovered up to 73 cases of COVID-19 negative tests were fake. This discovery provided further motivation for the initial ban on passenger flights to and from Kenya.
Emirates Airlines extended its suspension of passenger flights from Kenya on December 28, 2021, to comply with a directive that was initially set to end on December 24, 2021.
“Inbound and transit passenger flights from UAE are suspended for a period of seven days. We are doing this to reciprocate a ban on Kenyan passenger flights to UAE,” said Kibe, according to reports by The EastAfrican.
Cargo services and frequencies between Kenya and the UAE are unaffected by the ban and will remain intact.
Passengers boarding a flight to Dubai are required to conduct and present a report on a rapid PCR test at the departure airport no more than six hours before departure. In addition, passengers are also required to obtain a negative PCR test certificate within 48 hours of arrival in Dubai.
However, UAE authorities discovered that a number of inbound passengers from Nairobi, Kenya who presented negative PCR test results on arrival, went on to test positive upon arrival in Dubai.
Kibe has affirmed that the scandal is associated with a network of private medical testing centers conspiring with passengers to issue fraudulent COVID-19 PCR results in order to facilitate their passage to Dubai.
Kenyan health authorities have launched an investigation into the allegations to reprimand officials who have been involved in facilitating fraudulent documentation.