2. As of 17 April 2020, confirmed COVID-19 cases in the UK stood at 108,093; with a total of 14, 576 deaths. Of those who've lost their lives, two are Kenyan. Our thoughts & prayers are with their families. @AmbMKamau @WaiJk @ForeignOfficeKE
— Amb. Manoah Esipisu EBS (@MEsipisu) April 17, 2020
The Kenyan government on April 6 also extended the ban on international flights by 30 days as it intensifies the fight against the spread of coronavirus.
Thee is, however, a window that allows evacuation of nationals as well as cargo flights.
“We are working on logistics for a possible evacuation flight from London’s Heathrow Airport to Nairobi. Kenya Airways has given 211 as the minimum number of passengers for whom a chartered flight can be arranged,” Esipisu said.
However, as is the case with China, Kenyans will pay for the evacuation.
Those in the UK who need to be evacuated can contact the High Commission via email at email@example.com and emergency duty officer at +44 7979 973 794.
“Additional information will be shared in due course regarding dates and cost of the flight once viability of flight is confirmed. We urge all Kenyans to remain vigilant as well as observe all preventive measures as advised,” Esipisu said.
“Those keen to fly back to Nairobi will be expected to meet the cost for their air ticket and also be subjected to the 14-28 days mandatory quarantine period imposed by the Government at their own cost,” the envoy said.
However, opposition leaders among them Musalia Mudavadi, Senator Moses Wetang’ula and Narc Kenya leader have blasted the government for requiring Kenyans stranded in foreign nations to pay for their evacuation.
“Our embassy in China is a big let down. You can’t offer distressed Kenyans an evacuation at their cost! Arrange a KQ plane to lift our people. Pay from the Covid-19 fund,” the Bungoma senator said.
On his part, ANC party leader said asking distraught Kenyans in China to pay for their tickets home and Covid-19 tests is unacceptable. Karua opposed giving Kenyans conditions to go back home.
However, other than extreme cases, most nationals pay for their own evacuation.
For instance, British, Belgian, Austrian and German nationals who have been evacuated from Kenya have paid for their evacuation.
Patience Nyange, a Media Council of Kenya who is studying in Cardiff said even British nationals paid for their flights back to the UK.
“Kenyans must stop this pauper mentality. Organise for a fundraiser and make your way home. If I got stranded and the government has given me a chance to go home, it is my duty to get my ticket home,” Nyange said.
The US does also not pay for evacuation.
The law requires that assisted evacuation of private US citizens or third country nationals be provided “on a reimbursable basis to the maximum extent practicable.”
But given they may not have access to their cash during a crisis, Americans or third country nationals do not have to pay before they board.
“To board these transports, you will need to complete and sign a form promising to repay the US government. The amount billed to evacuees is based on the cost of a full fare economy flight, or comparable alternate transportation, to the designated destination(s) that would have been charged immediately prior to the events giving rise to the evacuation,” US Bureau of Consular Affairs says.