Omicron is a new coronavirus strain first discovered in South Africa in November. The patients mostly suffer from mild muscle aches, scratchy throat, and dry cough.

Kenya has been added to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) red alert list following the detection of three cases of the omicron Covid-19 variant.

This will now require any traveler to the UAE from Kenya to meet tougher travel requirements to enter the country.

Other African countries on the list are Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

According to the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Kenyan passengers seeking entry to the UAE will have to present a valid negative Covid-19 test certificate that is issued 48 hours from the time of collecting the sample.

Similarly, they will have to undergo a PCR test upon arrival in Dubai and self-quarantine until the negative test result is out.

“Direct passengers will have to present a Rapid PCR test report that should be based on molecular diagnostic testing intended for the qualitative detection of nucleic acid for SARS-COV-2 viral RNA; conducted at the departure airport prior to six hours of departure, provided with QR code system,” the UAE aviation authority said in a statement. 

Read also: Two Pfizer jabs 70 percent effective against Omicron – Study

Transit passengers will similarly have to present the exact aforementioned test report at the departure airport, within a similar timeframe via the same system.

Further, airlines that wish to operate from UAE despite originating from the red-listed countries will have to submit their request via email to Dubai’s aviation regulator, 48 hours, before the planned operation, and the email should be accompanied by a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) of the airline for the intended operation and a full description of the machine to be used for Rapid PCR test report.

The authority has also urged all airlines to verify the authenticity of the passenger requirements prior to them boarding the aircraft, failure to which the passenger will be rejected and the carriers will be subjected to fines.

Meanwhile, Kenya continues to record a resurge in Covid infections, with the latest numbers recorded being 943 people, from a sample size of 5,787.

From the positive cases, the positivity rate hit a high of 16.3 percent, while on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, the positivity rate was 11.5 percent and 10.6 percent respectively.

For three consecutive days, the positivity rate has exceeded the 10 percent mark raising concern about the resurgence of infections in the country.

Over the past weeks, many people in the country have been experiencing symptoms associated with the flu such as fever, coughing, and runny nose, a situation that Dr Loice Ombajo, infectious disease expert says should not be ignored, as the symptoms could also hint at COVID-19.

Dr Ombajo, during an interview with a local media house on Thursday, argued that it is difficult to determine flu symptoms from those of COVID-19 since the illnesses are both classified as upper respiratory tract infections.

“These are general features of upper respiratory tract information. It starts from the nose to the back of the throat, down the throat, and to the upper part of the airways,” she said.

“Upper respiratory tract infections are caused by different viruses and more recently what has been of interest is the virus causing COVID-19.  Over the last week or so many hospitals have reported that people who present these symptoms have been found to have COVID-19.

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