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Kenyans arrested at airport with 'fake' Covid certificates

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image captionFile photograph of Jomo Kenyatta international airport in Nairobi, Kenya

Officials have arrested 21 people accused of attempting to use fake "Covid-free certificates" to travel from Kenya to the United Arab Emirates.

It came after the UAE issued a visa ban on Kenyans, allegedly after visitors were found using forged certificates.

The suspects are due to appear in court later on Friday, according to local media.

Coronavirus cases are rising in Kenya and on Thursday it tightened restrictions on public gatherings.

Earlier this week, the UAE decided to stop giving visas to citizens of 13 countries, including Kenya, Somalia, Libya, Tunisia and Algeria.

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The 21 travellers were attempting to fly to Dubai when they were apprehended at the main airport in Kenyan capital Nairobi on Thursday.

They are accused of using forged medical documents that certified they tested negative for coronavirus in advance of travel.

On another recent flight, from Nairobi to Dubai, about 100 Kenyans were reportedly found with similar falsified documents and half later tested positive at the airport, according to Kenyan website Nairobi news.

Kenya has recorded 80,102 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 1,427 deaths since the pandemic began. On Thursday a further 780 infections were reported, according to the Kenyan health ministry.

New restrictions on public gatherings were introduced on Thursday. The number of guests allowed to attend weddings has been reduced to 50 and no more than 100 mourners may attend a funeral.

Meanwhile church services are now limited to a maximum of 90 minutes.

media captionWilliam Moss of Johns Hopkins university doesn't expect the vaccines to be available in Africa until late 2021.

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