NAIROBI, April 7 (Xinhua) -- Kenya and the United Kingdom on Wednesday resolved to set up a joint emergency committee to address COVID-19 travel restrictions after London added Nairobi to its COVID-19 travel red list.

Raychelle Omamo, Kenya's cabinet secretary for foreign affairs, held talks with British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab where they also agreed to bolster trade and regional security.

"They discussed the strength of our relationship on trade, regional security, and health and agreed to establish a Joint Committee to work together on addressing COVID-19 travel restrictions," the ministry of foreign affairs said in a brief statement.

It said the two officials underlined the need to work on strengthening trade and deepening regional security.

Britain sparked a diplomatic row on April 2 when it included Kenya in the COVID-19 travel ban red list effective Friday.

London said the decision was taken by UK Ministers on March 31 following a review of the latest scientific evidence pertaining to the risk of community transmission of COVID-19 variants.

According to British Department of Transport, nearly a third of about 550 people who travel from Kenya to the UK each week have been testing positive to the COVID-19 variant originating from South Africa.

But Kenya criticized the move, saying the decision was "discriminatory" and lacked "logic and scientific knowledge of the disease or the spread of the pandemic".

Kenya also said all visitors originating from or transiting through UK airports will be required to undergo a 14-day mandatory quarantine at a government facility at their own cost.

Nairobi said that exemption from the new travel restrictions include cargo flights between the two countries and Kenyan nationals resident in the UK or transiting through the European nation's airports. - Xinhua

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