Fri, 02 Oct 2020

Tanzania on Wednesday announced it was lifting a ban on several Kenyan airlines after Nairobi announced it would no longer impose a coronavirus quarantine on travellers from the country.

In the latest spat in a long-running diplomatic row between the East African neighbours, Tanzania last month banned the airlines after Kenya put passengers travelling from the country on a list of those who would have to undergo mandatory quarantine.

While Kenya imposed strict movement restrictions and other measures to curb the virus, Tanzania has come under fire for failing to take it seriously enough, and claiming that God was protecting it from the illness.

However, Kenya on Tuesday backed down, exempting Tanzania from the quarantine.

"In view of that and on a reciprocal basis, the United Republic of Tanzania now lifted the suspension for all Kenyan operators namely Kenya Airways, Fly 540 Limited, Safarilink Aviation and AirKenya Express Limited," the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority said in a statement.

President John Magufuli's refusal to impose lockdowns or social distancing measures, and to halt the release of figures on infections since late April, has made him a regional outlier and caused concern among Tanzania's neighbours and the World Health Organization.

Magufuli declared Tanzania free of coronavirus in June, thanking God and the prayers of citizens for defeating the disease.

The diplomatic spat between Kenya and Tanzania erupted soon after the outbreak of the pandemic in East Africa, when Kenya blocked Tanzanian truck drivers from entering the country, fearing they would spread the disease.

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