Tanzania lifts suspension on Kenyan flights as COVID-19 cold war cools down

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The Tanzanian government has lifted the suspensions it imposed on Kenyan flights after Kenya allowed its flights into the country.

Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli and the Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in a graphic designed image(Photo credit: unknown)

The Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) banned Kenyan flights from entering its borders on reciprocal basis after Kenya put restrictions on Tanzanian and other foreign flights from entering Nairobi and other parts of Kenya.

The TCAA’s decision came shortly after Kenya imposed a mandatory 14-day Covid-19 quarantine on its passengers.

Speaking to media from Arusha, the TCAA Director General, Hamza Johari, said in a statement extended to Nyamilepedia that the agency reversed its decision after Kenya updated its list of the countries allowed into the country and that includes Tanzania.

“This is to confirm that the Government of Kenya removed the requirement of 14-day mandatory requirement for all arriving passengers from the United Republic of Tanzania, in view of that and on a reciprocal basis, Tanzania has now lifted the suspension of all Kenyan operators,” TCAA Director General Hamza Johari said through a statement shared to the media.

Mr. Johari added that the resumption and restoration of flights for all operators were to take place with immediate effect.

Other countries that were added in the list include Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

Kenya and Tanzania have been engaged in a heated cold war over how the two Swahili speaking nations approached global pandemic, COVID-19.

While Tanzania took an African-centric model to handle COVID-19, Kenya took western model and went on to lock-down its borders for nearly seven months when Tanzania never lockdown or impose 14-day quarantine like Kenya.

Kenya imposed a total lock downs; closing its borders, banning international flights, closing down of schools and all the social gatherings at a time when Tanzanians would walk into a church or a mosque in hundreds to conduct their regular services or ceremonies.

Although it is too early to judge, which of the two countries had the best model that effectively combatted the Coronavirus, Tanzania boasts that it defeated the virus and even declared their country COVID-19 free two months before Kenya reopens its borders.

The announcement that Tanzania was COVID-19 free by president John Pombe Magufuli in the middle of global COVID-19 crises in June forced Kenya to invoke strict measures on Tanzania which included closure of the Kenya-Tanzania border.

After Kenya opened its airspace back in august, it noticeably left out Tanzania from the list of countries allowed entry into Kenya. 

To retaliate, Tanzania banned Kenyan flights from entering its borders.

 “The authority regrets to inform you that on a reciprocal basis, the Tanzanian Government has decided to nullify its approval for Kenya Airways flights between Nairobi and Dar/Kilimanjaro/Zanzibar effective August 1, 2020 until further notice,” Johari noted in a protest letter following the August 1 decision.

Other neighboring countries like South Sudan, Uganda, Ethiopia and Sudan all used western model but the level of restrictions vary from country to country.

While Sudan and Uganda had stricts measures that would come second to Kenyan restrictions, South Sudan had a loose western model where NGO, UN, government officials and South Sudanese from diaspora could easily penetrate.

The nation of South Sudan had to reopen in May after the young nation realized that it was harder to impose a full lockdown amid economic and refugee crises.

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