Kigali has protested Britain’s decision to add Rwanda, to its to red travel ban list, saying it had done more to contain the spread of COVID-19.
“Considering the list of countries in the region affected and not affected by the ban, the sparse information communicated to Rwanda does not stand up to scientific scrutiny,” said Rwanda in a statement issued this Saturday.
“The Government of Rwanda looks forward to receiving clarifications on the motivations behind this arbitrary decision of the UK Government,” the statement added.
UK on Friday said “from 1pm on Friday 29 January, passengers who have been in or transited through the United Arab Emirates, Burundi and Rwanda in the last 10 days will no longer be granted access to the UK.”
UK’s Department for Transport on Thursday night said The decision to ban travel from these destinations follows the discovery of a new coronavirus variant first identified in South Africa, that may have spread to other countries, including the UAE, Burundi and Rwanda.”
RwandAir usually has large numbers of passengers connecting from Britain through Kigali to Lusaka, Harare and Entebbe.
This implies cancelling travel to London will have sweeping implications for the struggling airline.
Rwanda, which is planning to host the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, today said its overall response to COVID-19 including testing, surveillance, contact tracing, containment, treatment and reporting has been consistent, transparent and corroborated by third party entities.
“Rwanda is one of the few countries that require a PCR COVID-19 test for all departing passengers and all those in transit,” reads the government statement seen by ChimpReports.
“Notably, Rwanda did not join in the widespread bans on travellers from UK in December 2020 over the variant discovered in parts of the UK.”
Rwanda has so far confirmed 14,529 coronavirus cases with 186 deaths.
Dubai Airport, on its Twitter account, announced that all direct flights to the UK that were scheduled to arrive at their destination after 1pm UK time are cancelled.
It also advised passengers who have booked travel on those flights not to go to the airport and contact their airlines for rescheduling the journey.