The Ministry of Health has issued a  new directive for travellers following the new Covid-19 variant from South African countries.

In a statement during a press conference at the ministry headquarters, the acting Director-General for Health, Patrick Amoth, stated that the travellers travelling to Kenya from South Africa, Hong Kong and Botswana will undergo repeated testing on entry following the emergence of a new Covid-19 variant in the three countries.

The new Covid-19 variant Christened B.1.1.529  has 32 mutations that make it more transmittable and capable of evading vaccines.

According to South African Scientists, B.1.1.529 has more mutations to the “spike protein” than past variants, meaning that it could hamper the body’s immune response and spread more easily.

The variant has 50 mutations overall and 32 in the spike protein

The current virus penetrates the body’s cells and is the key target of the majority of vaccines. The highly contagious Delta strain, by contrast, had several mutations in its spike protein structure that make Delta particularly adept at allowing latching onto its host, more so than previous strains.

Dr Amoth  further pointed out that  the  cases of the new variant are restricted to the three countries stating that “given its ease of transmission and a global return to mass movements, there is need for increased vigilance at all our points of entry.”

From now, All travellers coming into Kenya will be required to be in possession of a negative COVID-19 negative certificate taken at least 96 hours before arrival into the country.

The government further urges Kenyans whether vaccinated or not to continue adhering to the public health social measures and take vaccinations. National and county health facilities have also been asked to be prepared to handle a potential increase.

Dr Amoth further says, “Emphasis should be placed on the availability of critical care facilities, piped oxygen and additional HR surge capacity,”

“The Ministry of Health is keenly monitoring the situation and will provide further advisory as more information emerges.”