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Air France: Transit Visa, a Must for Nigerians, Ghanaians Travelling to the UK from January 1

The airline issued a statement saying the Airport Transit Visas had become necessary for these citizens to pass through France or the Netherlands because of Brexit.

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Air France- KLM has announced the reintroduction of Airport Transit Visas (ATV), for citizens of certain countries, including those from Nigeria, who intend to travel to the UK from January 1, 2021.

An ATV is a document which allows a traveller to pass through the international zone of an airport, without entering the country’s territory.

The airline issued a statement saying the Airport Transit Visas had become necessary for these citizens to pass through France or the Netherlands because of Brexit.

It also said citizens of the affected countries who have British visa, long-stay visa or British residence permit must still have ATV to go through France or the Netherlands.

The countries affected include Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Central Africa Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Ghana.

Others include Guinea, Haiti, Iran, Iraq, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Senegal, Syria, Palestinians, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, and Sri Lanka.

“As of January 1, 2021, citizens of the following countries who are holders of a British visa, long-stay visa or a residence permit issued by the British authorities will need to be in possession of an airport transit visa (ATV) if they transit through France and or the Netherlands,” the statement read.

The airline did, however, say that citizens of the listed countries who possess visas or residence permits from Canada, Japan, the USA or any other European country, in addition to a UK visa/residence permit will be allowed to travel through France or the Netherlands without Airport Transit Visas.

The UK On December 24, sealed a Brexit trade deal with the European Union (EU).

The new Brexit deal will almost certainly mean lower tariffs and exportation costs than they would have faced if the UK had left the EU without reaching an agreement.

In January, The UK ceased to be a full member of the EU following the Brexit vote on June 23, 2016.

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East Africa News

Rwandan Immigration Services go Online Amid Covid-19 Lockdown

The agency has also made available, a list of mobile phone numbers and emails that can be used by those seeking the services.

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The Rwandan Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration (DGIE) has announced that all its services will be available online, following the two-week lockdown imposed on Kigali city.

The announcement says that the five online services include applying for passports, visa and permits, Refugee Travel Documents, Laissez Passer and those sending correspondences, mails among others.

According to the announcement, those seeking special services that require physical presence are advised to contact the migration office for further guidance using the contact information shared on migration social media platforms.

The Rwandan Immigration Services has also made available, a list of mobile phone numbers and emails that can be used by those seeking the services.

The general public is advised to make use of the agency’s websites, www.migration.gov.rwwww.irembo.gov.rw and social media platforms on Facebook ‘RwandaImmigration’, and twitter ‘@Rwandamigration’.

Since the Kigali International Airport will remain open for inbound and outbound travellers according to the cabinet resolutions, immigration services will definitely be needed.

According to the resolution, passengers who are arriving must present a negative PCR taken within 120 hours prior to their first departure while those departing must present a negative PCR.

The government has also approved designated hotels for arriving passengers which will remain open under strict Covid-19 prevention measures.

Cabinet said tourism activities will continue in strict adherence with Covid-19 health guidelines as guests are facilitated by hotels, tour operators and transport services.

Rwanda had, by January 20, recorded a total of 11,860 positive COVID-19 cases, with 7,812 recoveries. The death toll as a result of COVID-19 related issues is now at 153.

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Seychelles Reopens to Tourists Who Have Received Covid-19 Vaccine

The Minister for Tourism Sylvestre Radegonde told a press conference that added to receiving the vaccine, the traveller must also produce a negative PCR test taken within the prior 72 hours.

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The island country of Seychelles on Thursday re-opened its doors to visitors from anywhere in the world as long as they have taken both doses of the COVID-19 vaccination, a top tourism official said.

The Minister for Tourism Sylvestre Radegonde told a press conference that in addition to receiving the vaccine, the traveller must also produce a negative PCR test taken within the prior 72 hours.

Tourists to the island country of Seychelles must provide an authenticate certificate which serves as proof of receiving the vaccination. With all these in order, the visitor will not need to go into quarantine upon arrival.

In the last several months, Seychelles had put restrictions on which country’s tourists were eligible to travel to the island nation because of the surge in COVID cases experienced by many countries.

“We hope that this will open up the tourism industry for the locals, primarily for the small hotels who are struggling on La Digue, Praslin and also on Mahe. And also provide the kick that our economy desperately needs,” Radegonde explained.

Come mid-March, visitors to the islands will only be required to produce a negative PCR test as the country hopes to have vaccinated 70 percent of its local population, achieving herd immunity.

As of Thursday, close to 2,000 vaccinations had been administered in the country since the programme rolled out five days ago.

According to Kathleen Cecile, the head of the National Technical Working Group for COVID-19 vaccination, the programme had a slow start, but by Wednesday 938 people had taken the vaccine, bringing the campaign close to its target of 1,000 doses per day.

“Based on today’s figures we can confirm that one team reached its target of 200 vaccinations per day, and another team exceeded 100 vaccinations by midday today, and we except all the teams to reach the target of 200 vaccination per day as of today,” said Cecile.

To date, there have been no reports of serious adverse side effects of the vaccine on any person, Cecile said.

When the campaign began, there were four vaccination centres on the main island of Mahe, namely at the Yellow and Green Roof at the Seychelles Hospital, the ICCS and Anse Royale.

The fifth team of health professionals was covering the islands of Praslin and La Digue. However, since Sunday, the country’s health ministry revised its deployment plan to include more vaccination centres.

“We want to ensure that we remain on track of our March target of 70 percent coverage to achieve herd immunity, so we are now stepping up the campaign”, explained Cecile.

The new centers for vaccination have been set up in five workplaces which were already operating a daily clinic for their staff and which fall under the group of essential workers. This includes the military, the civil aviation, and the Indian Ocean tuna canning factory.

The Sinopharm vaccine is being given to persons within the ages of 18-year-olds up to 60-year-olds in the island nation. 50,000 doses of the vaccines were donated by the United Arab Emirates government which will cover 25,000 individuals in Seychelles.

According to Florida Bijoux, the manager for Extended Programme for Immunization, the first doses can be administered within two weeks.

“We have managed to organise nine teams, with a target of 200 vaccines per day, meaning 1,800 vaccines per day. If we get the other vaccines needed for the remainder of the campaign, in the coming weeks, we can easily vaccinate 44,000 people within a month,” she said.

People working in the tourism industry will also make up part of the list of essential workers wo will receive the vaccines.

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Air Zimbabwe to Acquire Embraer ERJ145s to Expand Fleet

The first deployment of an ERJ145 (Z-WPQ) with Air Zimbabwe was marked with delays, while the second ERJ145 is to be acquired within the first half of 2021.

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After a tough and tumultuous year that saw the Covid-19 pandemic decimate almost all sectors of life, especially the aviation sector, Zimbabwe’s national carrier is looking to rebuild its operations, with the airline stating its focus will be on fleet augmentation, route expansion, and service completion coming into the new year.

Air Zimbabwe has been operating domestic routes, albeit on a reduced schedule, while monitoring the trajectory of the second wave of the pandemic.

The national carrier now intends to rebuild its regional operations during its first half of 2021, as it plans to introduce twice daily services to South Africa’s capital from Harare, followed by destinations to Bulawayo, Congo and Dar es Salaam.

Destinations are expected to be served by Embraer ERJ145s.

Read Also: Air Zimbabwe fails to raise investment

The first deployment of an ERJ145 (Z-WPQ) with Air Zimbabwe was marked with delays, while the second ERJ145 is to be acquired within the first half of 2021.

In a press release, Air Zimbabwe’s CEO Joseph Makonese said “Our focus in 2021 is fleet augmentation, route expansion and service delivery. While there have been delays in the deployment into service of the ERJ145 (Z-WPQ) we expect the aircraft to be serviceable by the end of January 2021. We are in the process of acquiring a second ERJ145 for deployment into service in the first half of 2021.”

Air Zimbabwe’s domestic operations will continue with three weekly flights between Harare, Victoria Falls, and Bulawayo. Three times weekly regional flights are set to begin between Harare and Dar es Salaam, with tourists and traders having the convenience of connecting with Victoria Falls and Bulawayo.

Domestic operations will also be increased to promote the tourism industry through the ‘Flame Lilly Package,’ while the expansion of regional operations is proposed to add destinations to Lusaka, Zambia; Lubumbashi, Congo and Kinshasa, Congo as the year progresses.

The Zimbabwean government, which wholly owns Air Zimbabwe, lifted bans on domestic and international air travel from September 2020, and October 2020, respectively.

The carrier also operated cargo and repatriation flights reuniting families with their loved ones who were stranded in various locations back to their respective countries.

The airline operates two Boeing 767 aircraft, two Boeing 737s, one Boeing 777 and two Airbus A320s.

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