A Kenyan Airways plane comes in to land during the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya, March 24, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]
Kenya and Rwanda resumed international flights on August 1, following easing of travel restrictions imposed in March as a precautionary measure to control spread of coronavirus that has so far infected over 94,000 and killed almost 20,000 in Africa.
The two countries said they had put in place strict health and precautionary measures to ensure that travelers are safe and that cases are not imported or exported from the country.
Kenya resumed international flight to 30 destinations across Europe, Africa and Middle East.
At the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport located in Kenya's capital Nairobi, many foreigners were spotted waiting to depart as others including locals arrived from various destinations.
Some of the foreigners leaving the country said they were doing so due to the spike of the coronavirus cases in the country that has so far infected over 21,000 and killed over 300.
Other segment of those departing were tourists who were caught up by the travel bans and those whose work permit had expired.
Allan Kilavuka, the group chief executive officer at the Kenya Airways, said they had put in place measures to maintain the highest level of safety, security and hygiene.
"We are working closely with both local and global health authorities, as well as following guidelines provided by the World Health Organization and the International Air Transport Association to protect you whenever you are on board any of our services," Kilavuka said.
He said since resumption of domestic flights in July 15, they have been monitoring the adherence to the travelers and staff health and safety protocols that had been put in place and that they were being enforced and followed strictly.
Solomon Kitungu, the transport principal secretary, said arrivals from countries that have high transmission of coronavirus will be quarantined in designated government facilities or at home in line with guidelines from the ministry of health.
Mutahi Kagwe, the cabinet secretary for health, urged Kenyans to avoid unnecessary travel even as the country reopened its skies.
"We are not opening the airspace because cases have gone down, we are doing so because we are confident that the necessary measures to resume normal economic activity have been taken," he said.
Kagwe said airport staff had been fully trained on coronavirus for the sake of their safety and that of the passengers. He added that regular disinfection of the airport especially public places will take place.
"For the last over five months, we have taught Kenyans and people across the globe have experienced this disease. We believe, passengers and airport workers are aware of what is happening around them," he said.
As part of a precautionary measure, Kenya Airways will not be issuing headsets for use across all flights. This is meant to minimize person-to-person transmission of communicable diseases.
All aircraft will be sanitized before departure and all cabin staff members would wear personal protective equipment.
The airline will also install High Efficiency Particulate Air filtration systems in all its planes to clean the air during flights.
RwandAir also resumed international flights with strict measures with all passengers including those on transit required to produce a Real Time-Polymerase Chain Reaction coronavirus test from a certified laboratory, taken within 72 hours before departing, transiting or arriving in Rwanda.
All passengers whose final destination is Kigali will go through a health screening at Kigali International Airport and will be tested for coronavirus at a designated hotel of their choice where they will also be accommodated as they await test results which will be available within 24 hours.
Passengers with flu-like symptoms or have come into contact with coronavirus infected persons within the last 14 days, are advised not to travel.