Kenyan medical center seeks $1.5m for withdrawal of Covid test permit


By AMINA WAKO

By SAM KIPLAGAT

A Kenyan medical facility has gone to court seeking $1.55million in damages after its Covid testing license was suspended.

Checkups Medical Centre, based at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), has filed a petition against the Health Ministry’s decision to withdraw its powers to issue a trusted travel code to travellers.

As well as seeking to be allowed to continue testing passengers at Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) and Port Health, the facility is seeking compensation for losses incurred after its license was suspended by the Director of Services. health Patrick Amoth on January 14, 2022.

“At all relevant times, the Petitioner remained committed to conducting its business in accordance with quality standards in accordance with guidelines and First Responder (MOH) Quality Assurances for Covid-19 testing,” it states in its statements. documents.

Numbers on the rise

The United Arab Emirates banned flights from Kenya on December 20, 2021, saying travelers from Nairobi tested positive for Covid-19 upon arrival in the country despite presenting negative test results. Dubai wrote two letters to the Civil Aviation Authority of Kenya and Kenya Airways in December, seeking answers to the growing number of Kenyans testing positive at its airport, despite holding negative PCR certificates, but did not receive no answer.

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Checkup says it has been requested by Kenya Airways to conduct a six-hour pre-flight test for passengers transiting to the UAE from the red zone on September 23, 2021. As the only test lab, the facility claims it was not aware of any false negative results, but later found out there was another licensed lab for passengers, a matter he brought to the attention of the KAA and port health authorities.

Between December 15 and 19, 2021, 95 passengers believed to be transported by Kenya Airways, tested positive for Covid-19 in Dubai, forcing the UAE to place Kenya on the red list. On December 20, the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority announced a 48-hour suspension on all flights from Kenya, followed by three extensions and an indefinite ban.

It was then that the Department of Health informed Checkup that the government had received alarming reports that several customers tested at its facility and issued with negative Covid-19 travel certificates had tested positive upon arrival at their destination.

But the establishment says the allegations were not based on any supporting statistics or information and that the letter communicating his suspension was sent by the media.

The facility sued the Ministry of Health, Dr Amoth, the Kenya Medical Laboratory Technicians and Technologists Board and the Pharmacy and Poisons Board.

Through lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi, the company says the decision to revoke its license was illegal.

He says the department relied on rumours, never called, gave him a chance to tell his side of the story or filed evidence to back up the claims.

Meanwhile, Dubai has lifted the ban on travelers from 12 African countries, including Kenya and Tanzania.

On January 26, the Civil Aviation Authority of Dubai lifted the month-long ban, providing relief to thousands of travellers. Dubai is a major aviation hub for travelers to and from Africa.

Apart from Kenya and Tanzania, the UAE government has also announced the resumption of entry of passengers from Ethiopia, Nigeria, Congo, South Africa, Botswana, eSwatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe from January 29.

But passengers from Uganda, Ghana and Rwanda will be subject to strict entry conditions, including the presentation of negative Covid-19 PCR test certificates with QR codes for tests carried out at an approved facility no more 48 hours before departure and at the airport six hours before. the flight. They are also required to undertake a PCR test upon arrival.

Dubai is opening its borders to Kenya days after Nairobi lifted a retaliatory ban on inbound and transiting passenger flights from the Middle Eastern nation it imposed two weeks ago. Travelers from East Africa to Dubai have faced tough conditions, with airlines like Kenya Airways and Ethiopian Airlines flying this route seeing a slowdown in business over the festive season.

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