Ethiopia taking more measures to contain the spread of COVID 19

Chief Justice of Ethiopia, Meaza Ashenafi, and Defense Chief of Staff of the Defense Force introduce measures to help contain spread of COVID 19

Ethiopia _ COVID 19
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Photo credit : Office of the Prime Minister

borkena
March 18, 2020 

As it is the case elsewhere, news of COVID 19 is dominating headlines of media outlets in Ethiopia.  The Federal government and regional states are preoccupied with the task of containing the spread of the disease. 

On Wednesday, Meaza Ashenafi, who is the Chief Justice of the Federal Courts, said that Federal courts would be partially closed for two weeks as part of the effort to arrest the spread of the virus. That happens starting tomorrow, March 19, and won’t be fully functional until April 2.

Those who have a court hearing within the two weeks could know about the status of it by sending a text message to 992 or call, she advised. 

Chief of Staff of the Ethiopian Defense Force, General Adem Mohammed,  announced the measures that members of the defense force have to take to protect themselves from the pandemic. A task force is already established at different levels to halt the spread of the virus, he said.  The defense force will continue to carry out missions, he said, but in the interest of their safety, they need to limit contact within the camp and in residential areas. 

Earlier this week, Ethiopia declared closure of schools for two weeks, suspended sporting events including the premier league and banned large gatherings as precaution as the number of COVID 19 infected people increased in the country.

Regional states in different parts of Ethiopia are working on prevention mechanisms, and many of them have formed a task force under the direct supervision of the heads of the regional states. Authorities vow to deal with businesses, legally, who are allegedly taking advantage of the situation to hike prices for essential items. 

On Tuesday, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed held discussions with Federal and Regional Communications Officers, as well as Regional Health Bureau’s Communication, to map out ways of creating awareness on how to prevent the virus. The office of the Prime Minister disclosed that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed “urged government communicators to become soldiers who prevent transmission of the virus by providing accurate and up-to-date information to the public.” 

Volunteers in the capital are engaged in awareness, creating activities, including teaching the public about proper handwashing practices. 

So far, there are no confirmed cases of COVID 19 in regional states. However, there are regions like Ethio-Somali region that are dealing with equally, perhaps, even more, devastating and unknown diseases.  According to VOA news published on March 17, 2020, over 2000 members of pastoral communities have died since 2020. It causes mouth and nose bleeding as well as swollen limbs and green or yellow eyes.

Despite fears that Ethiopia would be affected by the Coronavirus due to the high number of travelers from different continents, so far, confirmed cases are only 6.  

At least three of them arrived in the country after March 4 from another African country and the Middle East.  Four of the patients are foreign nationals.

The Ministry of Health updated the public on Wednesday regarding the condition of the six patients identified in the country.  Four of them have shown signs of improvement – they no longer have the common symptom, and the remaining two are recovering from it, said the Ministry. 

Outside of Ethiopia, two Ethiopians reportedly died in Italy – a country very much affected outside of China. Over 2500 people have been killed until Wednesday, March 18, 2020.

The number of people infected with the virus is changing at a global level. At this writing, the total number of infected people is over 215,000. More than 8900 people have died from it, and more than 84,000 have recovered from it. 



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