US Downgrades Kenya, Issues New Travel Advisory

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), Nairobi

The United States has downgraded Kenya to Level Three and further issued a travel advisory against the country amid a swell in Covid-19 infections.

Kenya had been categorized at Level One by the US in October 2021, which was a safer classification that required citizens to follow standard procedures.

The Level Three category, currently enforced on the East African country, usually applies to destinations that have had between 100 and 500 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days.

American citizens were, therefore, advised to avoid all non-essential travel to Kenya or reconsider planned trips to the country.

An undated image of the entrance to the US Embassy in Gigiri, Nairobi.
A photo of the entrance to the US Embassy in Gigiri, Nairobi.
US Embassy

The US review against Kenya is a major blow to the recovering tourism sector.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level Three Travel Health Notice for Kenya due to Covid-19, indicating a high level of Covid-19 in the country,” read part of the advisory from the US embassy in Nairobi.

"Your risk of contracting COVID-19 and developing severe symptoms may be lower if you are fully vaccinated with an FDA authorized vaccine. Before planning any international travel, please review the CDC's specific recommendations for vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers," it added.

US citizens were also cautioned against traveling near the Kenya-Somalia border and some coastal areas due to insecurity and some parts of Turkana County due to increased crime.

Further, they were advised from visiting some neighborhoods in Nairobi such as Eastleigh and Kibera due to crime and kidnapping.

"Violent crime, such as armed carjacking, mugging, home invasion, and kidnapping, can occur at any time.  Local police are willing but often lack the capability to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents and terrorist attacks," it added.

The downgraded level comes amid an active ban by the United Arabs Emirates.

UAE banned flights from Kenya to Dubai indefinitely following high cases of Covid-19 in the country amid claims of fake certificates issued by authorities in Nairobi.

On Tuesday, January 11, Kenya also suspended all inbound and transit passenger flights from the UAE for seven days, in what may be perceived as a retaliation against Dubai. 

Planes landing at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA)
Planes landing at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA)
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