Ethiopia to quarantine all passengers from Wuhan, China

Still no confirmed case/s of coronavirus infection Ethiopia. But Public Health Institute introduced changes to the way it is preventing the virus from entering the country

Ethiopia _ Coronavirus prevention
Ethiopian Public Health Institute Director, Dr. Eba Abate. Credit : FBC

February 7, 2020

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – Ethiopian Public Health Institute announced on Friday that it had passed a decision to quarantine all passengers coming from Wuhan city of China.

The institute had a press conference to update the public about measures that it is taking to prevent Coronavirus in Ethiopia and to share the latest information about the current global status of the deadly virus, according to Fana Broadcasting Corporation.

Dr. Eba Abate, director of the institute, said the emergency response coordination center in the institute had received information about 29 people that are believed to have the virus.

Fourteen of them were quarantined as they had symptoms of the virus. Eleven samples were sent to South Africa for a laboratory test, and eight of them are reported negative.

Test results of three cases are not yet received, according to Dr, Eba Abate.

Five of the cases are Ethiopians, while the remaining three are Chinese- according to a report by Fana Broadcasting Corporate. It is unclear why samples from eleven people were sent while those who were quarantined were 14 in total.

Passengers from China are subject to screening at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa before they mix with other passengers.  A separate immigration counter is arranged for all passengers from China, Abate Eba said.

But those who are arriving from Wuhan city, in the Hubei province of China, are subject to a different arrangement. They will be quarantined for fourteen days – days needed to determine if someone is showing symptoms of coronavirus.

There are possibilities that there might not be a need to send samples to South Africa in a few  weeks as Ethiopia is in the process of acquiring equipment essential to diagnose coronavirus.  

So far, there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus patients in Ethiopia, although Ethiopian Airlines is defying pressure from Ethiopians to stop flying to China. Yesterday, Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta pleaded to Ethiopian Airlines to stop flying to China.

Over 300 Ethiopian students are studying in Wuhan City, and they are in lockdown in their university dormitories. They have been demanding arrangements for them to fly back to Ethiopia, but the Ethiopian government is yet to respond despite mounting criticisms for not doing so earlier.

As of Friday this week, over thirty-four thousand people are infected with coronavirus in mainland China, and the death toll in the country is now over 700.

Confirmed Coronavirus cases are reported in over twenty-five countries around the world.

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