Kenya warns of "vaccine apartheid" as it hits back at the UK over travel ban move


“Kenya continues to see, with deep regret, that vaccine producing countries around the world have begun practicing a form of vaccine nationalism, possessiveness, and discrimination, coupled with a vaccine hoarding attitude that can only be described as a form of ‘vaccine apartheid’,” Kenya’s Foreign Ministry mentioned in a lengthy press statement, issued in response to the UK’s travel ban.

“This vaccine apartheid, coupled with the reckless calls for vaccine passports while not making the vaccines available to all nations, widens existing inequalities and makes it near impossible for the world to win the war against the pandemic,” the assertion argued.

Both international locations’ coverage modifications will start on April 9.

A shock resolution

Kenya’s principal secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Macharia Kamau, instructed NCS in a telephone name on Tuesday that the move from London got here “as a little bit of a surprise”.

“It’s not like we have an out-of-control Covid situation in Kenya — we do not. It’s not like we are not exercising great prudence and it’s not like we are not managing the situation diligently here,” mentioned Kamau, who previously served as Kenya’s ambassador to the United Nations.

Kenya’s Foreign Ministry assertion declared all passengers originating from or transiting by UK airports will now be required to spend 14 days in quarantine at a government-designated facility, the place they might want to take two PCR checks, all at their very own expense.

Kenyan residents who stay in the UK and cargo flights are, nevertheless, exempt from these measures.

Western countries have 'hoarded' Covid vaccines. Africa is being left behind as cases surgeWestern countries have 'hoarded' Covid vaccines. Africa is being left behind as cases surge

The UK authorities’s measures go a step additional. They say that each one vacationers who’ve been in or by Kenya in the earlier 10 days will probably be refused entry to England. British, Irish, and third-country nationals with residence rights will probably be allowed to enter however will probably be required to self-isolate in a government-approved resort quarantine facility for 10 days — additionally at their very own expense.

“With over 30 million vaccinations delivered in the UK so far, the additional restrictions will help to reduce the risk of new variants — such as those first identified in South Africa (SA) and Brazil — entering England,” the UK authorities’s Department for Transport mentioned in a press release whereas saying the move.

The UK has virtually 40 international locations on its ‘red list’. Many of these international locations are African or South American nations. However, European international locations which can be at present experiencing a 3rd wave of instances, such as France, will not be on the checklist.

The resolution so as to add Kenya to the ‘purple checklist’ comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed April as “second dose month,” with the nation giving extra second doses than first doses of the vaccine per day for the first time on March 30.

Over 31 million people in the UK have now obtained a primary dose of a Covid-19 vaccine and greater than 5 million have additionally obtained their second shot, in response to the newest authorities knowledge.
The UK is seeing a decline in Covid-19 deaths and instances and is taking steps to open up its economic system, whereas Kenya is at present battling a third wave of Covid-19.
London records zero Covid-19 daily deaths for first time in six months as cases soar elsewhere in EuropeLondon records zero Covid-19 daily deaths for first time in six months as cases soar elsewhere in Europe

On March 26, President Uhuru Kenyatta introduced curfews and a ban on virtually all motion in or out of the nation’s largest cities, together with the capital Nairobi, to deal with the outbreak.

International flights have been the exception to that travel ban.

However, the UK has seen way more deaths all through the pandemic than Kenya.

Kenya’s whole reported Covid-19 death toll on Tuesday stood at 2,258, in response to the nation’s Ministry of Health. The UK’s total death toll has topped greater than 126,000, in response to its authorities knowledge.
And the every day new confirmed Covid-19 instances per million folks in Kenya as of April 6 is nineteen.2, whereas the UK stands at 48.75, in response to Oxford University’s Our World in Data.

The quantity of confirmed instances is decrease in lots of international locations than the quantity of precise instances, because of causes such as restricted testing, in response to Our World in Data.

“We have demonstrated incredible responsibility here. We have kept our numbers impressively low. It’s not by accident it is by design and by policy,” Kamau mentioned. “If you look at other parts of the world, even our own continent, you’ll see that Kenya is a population of 50 million people and with its highly mobile population has still been able to do the necessary things.”

An pressing want for vaccines

Amid the row over the travel ban, some Kenyans — together with these in authorities — are highlighting the vaccine disparity between London and Nairobi on social media.

Kenya’s ambassador to the UN, Martin Kimani, tweeted: “When solidarity is just a word. First came Vaccine Nationalism now we have Vaccine Apartheid,” whereas sharing the Kenyan Foreign Ministry’s press statement on the UK travel ban on Twitter.

Kenya, a Commonwealth nation, has requested that the UK — a rustic with which it has a long-standing strategic relationship — share its vaccines, with the Foreign Ministry assertion noting: “Kenya is aware that the United Kingdom has [vaccines] in bigger quantities than it currently has use for.”

The UK — with a inhabitants of round 66 million folks — has greater than 400 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines from eight candidates on order. However, it has not obtained all these doses but and never all of these candidates have but been authorized by the UK’s medicines regulator.

It is at present administering the Oxford/AstraZeneca and BioNTech/Pfizer vaccines and introduced Wednesday it will start a rollout of the Moderna vaccine too.

The UK Foreign Office declined to touch upon the Kenyan assertion when contacted by NCS. But the authorities has mentioned that it will share any future surplus as soon as it has vaccinated its inhabitants. The UK has additionally pledged £548 million ($753 million) to the COVAX scheme, which goals to ship more than 1 billion vaccines to as much as 92 low and middle-income international locations this 12 months.
Compared to the UK’s 31 million first photographs administered, a complete of 325,592 Kenyans have obtained a Covid-19 vaccine as of Tuesday, in response to the newest figures from the nation’s Ministry of Health.
Africa's second coronavirus wave was much worse than the first, analysis showsAfrica's second coronavirus wave was much worse than the first, analysis shows
Kenya obtained its first shipment of vaccines — 1.02 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot — by way of the world COVAX program.

The cargo was half of an preliminary allocation to Kenya of 3.5 million doses.

“It is the only substantial amount of vaccine we’ve received so we absolutely welcome it and we celebrate it even. But we are a country of 50 million people and it’s imperative we vaccinate at least a third of the population… we actually need tens of millions of doses of vaccine, not millions and we need them rather urgently if we are to be effective in stemming this pandemic,” Kamau urged.

As half of its drive to get its inhabitants vaccinated, Kenya authorized Russia’s Sputnik V for emergency use in March — resulting in studies that individuals have been privately purchasing the shots for around $70.
Two attorneys declare to be the first two people in Kenya to have obtained a dose of Sputnik V — and tweeted images of themselves being vaccinated. NCS has contacted them for remark.

However, on April 2, the Ministry of Health introduced it had halted non-public sector importation and distribution of the vaccines to make sure “greater transparency and accountability.”

“There’s nothing wrong with Sputnik V just like there’s nothing wrong with all the other vaccines… but they need to be brought in in a manner that is consistent with government regulations,” Kamau famous.

“In Kenya, the vaccines are free for everybody,” he added.

To stop the global pandemic, rich countries need to stop hoarding vaccinesTo stop the global pandemic, rich countries need to stop hoarding vaccines

The world disparity in entry to Covid-19 vaccines has induced widespread anger amongst Africa’s leaders, together with South Africa’s president and chair of the African Union, Cyril Ramaphosa, who warned throughout a World Economic Forum digital assembly that richer international locations are “hoarding” vaccines, and urged world motion to make sure an equitable rollout.

Global charity Oxfam, with different members of the People’s Vaccine Alliance, a community of campaigning NGOs, additionally known as for an finish to ‘vaccine apartheid’. In a press launch Tuesday, it mentioned wealthy nations are vaccinating one individual a second while many growing nations have but to manage a single dose.

Kamau isn’t stunned at how issues have performed out globally, noting “we live in an unequal world.”

“Vaccines are a basic human right,” he mentioned. “They protect lives, they enhance people’s abilities to live their lives fully and allow nations to remain interactive in trading, which is really what is at the core of global development.”

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