Italy has started taking home its citizens from Kenya’s coastal towns in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic. Most Italians in the country live and conduct business at the coast, largely in Malindi, but also visit as tourists. In an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease, the government has instituted cessation of movement orders in three of the region’s counties – Kwale, Kilifi and Mombasa.
Italy has been badly hit by the deadly virus, with Kenya putting in place an early ban of flights from the nation, especially the northern parts where most of the Italians in Malindi come from. At that time, estimates showed there were about 7,000 Italians living in various coastal towns. About 3,000 left before the flight ban, leaving the majority stranded.
Read more information on Italian Laws and legislation here: Legal News and Guides – Italy
A few were also very reluctant to return to their homes in Italy, which was then sweltering in the heat of massive infections and widespread deaths from the virus. Chartered flights have so far been allowed to evacuate about 500 Italians through the Moi International Airport in Mombasa. Italy’s consulate in Malindi is co-ordinating the evacuations, which began on Sunday and will continue tomorrow. More than 250 Italians in the north coast region alone were evacuated on Sunday.
Freddy Delcuratolo, the head of the Italy consulate in Malindi, told journalists yesterday that the majority were stranded after Kenya suspended international passenger flights leaving nationals stranded due to coronavirus in Italy lockdown measures. “It is the first time that a lot of people from the same nation are going back at the same time. Many Italians used to travel to Italy annually between March and May,” he said. “It is a big loss for the regional economy, especially for Malindi because there is literally no business without Italians in Malindi and Watamu.”