Health and Travel Alert for U.S. Citizens: Government of Kenya Announces New Travel Restrictions, COVID-19 Rates Rapidly Increasing

Health and Travel Alert for U.S. Citizens
March 26, 2021

Government of Kenya Announces New Travel Restrictions, COVID-19 Rates Rapidly Increasing

Location: Kenya

Event:  COVID-19 Rates Rapidly Increasing; New Restrictions Announced

The CDC has issued a Level 4 Travel Notice for Kenya.  Community transmission of the coronavirus in Kenya is widespread and accelerating rapidly.  Public and private hospitals in Nairobi report that their COVID-19 bedspace is filling up.  Life-saving oxygen may be difficult to secure.

On March 26th President Kenyatta announced further restrictions in response to the worsening of the COVID-19 pandemic. Restrictions are focused on five counties declared “disease infected areas” – specifically Nairobi, Kajiado, Machakos, Kiambu and Nakuru counties (the “five counties”).

These restrictions include the following

  • Movement by road, air, and rail into and out of the five counties is suspended effective midnight March 26, 2021. Cessation of Movement is in and out of the 5 counties (Nairobi, Nakuru, Kiambu, Machakos, and Kajiado) as One Zoned Area. You can therefore move freely within the five counties. You will not however be able to leave and enter the One Zoned Area
  • Public gatherings and in-person meetings in the five counties are suspended until further notice;
  • International travel continues under existing guidelines;
  • The curfew in the five counties is extended from 8pm to 4 am, stating at midnight on March 26, 2021. Other counties will maintain the existing curfew of 10 pm to 4 am;
  • Curfew exemption passes are to be reviewed and until then all existing passes are revoked;
  • All physical and worship gatherings are suspended until further notice in the five counties. In other counties the existing rule that places of worship may only use one-third of their capacity remains in effect;
  • In-person learning at all education institutions through the entire country are suspended, except for those sitting for examinations;
  • In-person meetings within government are restricted;
  • Sporting and recreational activities are suspended;
  • Bars are closed in the five counties;
  • Hospitals must restrict visitors to two individuals per patient;
  • All funerals must be held within 72 hours after the confirmation of death, and no more than 50 people may attend a funeral;
  • Weddings may have no more than 30 people attending;
  • Restaurants are closed for dining and may provide only take away meals in the five counties, and they may not serve alcohol. In other counties, existing restrictions remain in place, with strict enforcement of guidelines; and
  • the prohibition on political gatherings has been extended;

In this third wave of COVID-19, the number of cases per day and the PCR positivity rate already exceed the high peaks of previous waves.  Nairobi continues to lead the surge in new cases.  Other counties with high COVID-19 rates include Machakos, Kiambu, Nakuru, and Tharaka Nithi.

The U.S. Embassy is unable to secure a bed or other medical care for U.S. citizens at private or public hospitals, nor can it provide medical care for private citizens.  If you must travel to Kenya at this time, you should have travel insurance that includes coverage for an air ambulance evacuation in the event you have symptomatic COVID-19.  You cannot travel on a commercial airline out of Kenya if you are acutely ill with COVID-19.  If you are already in Kenya, maintain strict COVID-19 mitigation measures, such as frequent hand washing, social distancing in public, avoiding large crowds of any kind, and mask wearing in public places.

Actions to Take:

  • Consult the CDC website for the most up-to-date information on the disease.
  • Visit our Embassy webpage on COVID-19 for information on conditions in Kenya.
  • Visit the COVID-19 crisis page on travel.state.gov for the latest information regarding foreign countries’ quarantine requirements and other global impacts.
  • Have a plan to depart from Kenya that does not rely on U.S. government assistance.
  • Check with your airlines regarding any updated information about your travel plans and/or restrictions.
  • Visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website on the latest travel restrictions affecting travel to the United States.