On Thursday this week, the United Kingdom added Rwanda and Burundi to its travel ban red list explaining that the decision is meant to prevent the spread of new variants of Covid-19. The variant has however not been reported in Rwanda.
A UK government statement on Thursday said that the decision to ban travel from both countries follows the discovery of a new coronavirus variant first identified in South Africa, that may have spread to other countries, including the UAE, Burundi, and Rwanda, the UK said. The United Arab Emirates was also placed on the UK travel ban list.
"From 1 pm on Friday 29 January, passengers who have been in or transited through the United Arab Emirates, Burundi, and Rwanda in the last 10 days will no longer be granted access to the UK," the statement says.
Following the travel ban, Rwanda has issued a statement explaining that the country has been respecting all health guidelines and requested the UK to clarify reasons behind such a decision.
“The Government of Rwanda has taken note of the UK Government announcement banning visitors who have been in, or transited through, Rwanda. Rwanda’s overall response to COVID-19 including testing, surveillance, contact tracing, containment, treatment, and reporting has been consistent, transparent, by third party entities. Rwanda is one of the few countries that require a PCR COVID-19 test for all departing passengers and all those in transit,” reads part of the statement.
“Notably, Rwanda did not join in the widespread of bans on travelers from UK in December 2020 over the variant discovered in parts of the UK. Considering the list of countries in the region affected and not affected by the ban, the spare information communicated to Rwanda does not stand up to scientific scrutiny. The Government of Rwanda looks forward to receiving clarifications on the motivations behind this arbitrary decision of the UK Government,” adds the statement.
Apart from Rwanda, other African countries on the red list include Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Cap Vert, RDC, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Argentina, Bolivie, Brésil, Chile, Colombia, Equateur, Guyane Française, Guyane, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal Suriname, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay and Venezuela are among other countries put on the travel ban red list.
UK is the 5th country most affected by Coronavirus where 3,796,088 people have been tested positive of whom 105,571 succumbed to the virus.