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NAIROBI, June 14 (Xinhua) -- Kenya said Monday it will reopen its embassy in Mogadishu as soon as possible as Nairobi welcomed the invitation by Mogadishu to fully restore diplomatic missions between the two neighboring countries.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs invited Somali ambassador to Kenya to return to Nairobi and resume his duties.

"The Kenyan government will proceed to reopen its embassy in Mogadishu as soon as possible," the ministry said in a statement.

The move came after Kenya on June 10 lifted its ban on flights to and from Somalia after a nearly one-month ban amid a diplomatic spat between the two countries.

Somalia later welcomed the resumption of flights and reiterated its commitment to restore and accelerate diplomatic, trade, and people-to-people relations for the prosperity of Somalia and Kenya.

Somalia in December 2020 severed its diplomatic ties with neighboring Kenya, accusing Nairobi of frequently violating Mogadishu's sovereignty which the latter denied. Mogadishu restored diplomatic relations with Nairobi on May 5 with mediation by Qatar. - Xinhua

 
Photo Courtesy PA/Yahoo News
 

Boris Johnson has been forced to delay the end of England’s coronavirus restrictions by up to four weeks after being warned the move could lead to thousands of deaths and unbearable pressure on the NHS.

The Prime Minister announced the setback to the final phase of his plan to end the lockdown on Monday due to concerns over the rapidly spreading Delta variant first identified in India.

Experts feared going ahead with Step 4 on June 21 as planned could lead to hospital admissions on the scale of the first wave of Covid-19 heaping unsustainable pressure on the health service.

To avert this, Mr Johnson said during a Downing Street press conference that it is “sensible” to put back the end of all legal limits on social contact to July 19, saying he is “confident” no further delay will be necessary.

He hopes deaths will be significantly reduced by that point because two-thirds of adults will have then been offered both vaccine doses due to the delay being coupled with a reduction in the time between jabs for the over-40s.

Limits on numbers for sports events, pubs and cinemas will therefore remain in place, nightclubs will stay shuttered and people will be asked to continue working from home where possible.

Downing Street left open the option of ending restrictions on July 5 if the data proves drastically better than expected but conceded this is “unlikely”.

Mr Johnson did, however, announce a limited easing of restrictions to take place from June 21 as he faces the prospect of a rebellion from Conservative MPs who are furious about the delay.

The 30-person cap for wedding ceremonies and receptions, as well as wakes, will be lifted, with limits to be set by venues based on social distancing requirements.

Care home residents will also no longer need to self-isolate for 14 days after leaving for visits in most cases.

Fans were expected to be able to attend the Euro 2020 semi-finals and final in Wembley as the pilots on attendance of large events continue.

Mr Johnson said: “It’s unmistakably clear that vaccines are working and the sheer scale of the vaccine roll-out has made our position incomparably better than in previous waves.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

“But now is the time to ease off the accelerator because by being cautious now we have the chance in the next four weeks to save many thousands of lives by vaccinating millions more people.”

Mr Johnson felt he had to delay the relaxation after at least one of his four tests to easing restrictions – that the risks are not fundamentally changed by new variants – had been failed.

Officials also called into question the test to ensure infection rates do not lead to a surge in hospital admissions that could put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.

Modelling by the Government’s Spi-M group suggested there was a possibility of hospital admissions reaching the heights of the first peak in March 2020 if the relaxation went ahead on Monday.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

Experts believe the Delta variant is driving a rapid accelerations in cases, estimating it is between 40% and 80% more transmissible than the Alpha variant first found in Kent.

Ministers were expected to hold a vote in Parliament on Wednesday in order for the Government to be given the legal powers to extend the restrictions.

Mr Johnson will hope the limited restrictions he has approved will reduce the scale of the rebellion on the Tory backbenches.   By Sam Blewett, PA Deputy Political Editor/Yahoo News

Image via Anadolu Agency

 

The US will send troops to Kenya in a bid to aid East African countries in the war against al-Shabaab terrorists, local media reported Sunday.

Al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Shabaab terrorists have plagued East African countries since 2006, leaving a trail of death, injuries, and suffering in their wake.

In a letter to the US Congress, “President Biden said that he had approved sending special operations troops to Kenya, which are expected to collaborate with the Kenyan military in combating Al-Shabaab. The number of troops is not indicated," Kenya’s Nation daily reported.

Last year the US Defense Department said in a statement that then-President Donald Trump ordered the Pentagon and US AFRICOM "to reposition the majority of personnel and assets out of Somalia by early 2021," referring to the country east and northeast of Kenya where al-Shabaab is based.

Before the withdrawal, the US had 650-800 troops in Somalia which helped the African nation fight al-Shabaab.

In 2015, al-Shabaab terrorists killed more than 148 people in an attack on a university in Northern Kenya. Most of the victims were students.

Al-Shabaab was behind a 2017 truck bomb attack in the Somali capital Mogadishu that took some 600 lives, the worst attack in the Horn of Africa country’s history. - Andrew Wasike, Anadolu Agency

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