It is unclear as to why Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates opted to repatriate over 3000 Ethiopians amid a global Coronavirus pandemic, and as Ethiopia is mobilizing to respond to it emphasizing prevention by declaring state of emergency. At least 27, COVID patients in Ethiopia had travel history to Dubai.
April 13, 2020
In two weeks, over three thousand Ethiopian migrants would be repatriated from Saudia Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – according to a report by Addis Admas, local Amharic newspaper, on Saturday last week.
Worse, the circumstances under which the repatriation is being carried out is one that makes them vulnerable to COVID 19 disease, the report added.
“We are worried that thousands of Ethiopians are deported from Dubai and Saudi Arabia in a way that would expose them to the disease,” Lia Tadesse, the Minister for Health, is cited as saying.
What is causing the concern is that those Ethiopians are repatriated without any medical check-up for the virus. For that reason, the Minister said, strict caution and preparation is underway to handle the cases. A quarantine place is arranged. They will be staying in Universities, which are currently closed as a preventive measure against the spread of the COVID 19 virus.
The arrangement is in a way that one person will stay in a single dormitory room, and will be provided with medical check-up, and meals for two weeks.
The Ministry of Health, The Ministry of Science and Higher Education, the Ministry of Peace, and the Federal Police are collaborating for the project, according to the Addis Admas report.
Those Ethiopians coming from Saudi Arabia could be more than 3000. The Ministry of Health has disclosed that 200 Ethiopians will be arriving in their country daily so that the repatriation work will be completed in two weeks.
Travelers arriving in the country are required to go through two weeks of mandatory quarantine in selected hotels in the capital Addis Ababa. The government had said that it had arrangements for those who can not cover their expenses. But there have been complaints that the arrangement has a poor living condition.
Over half of the COVID-19 patients confirmed in Ethiopia had a travel history, based on data provided by the Ministry of Health. Nearly 50 patients had a travel history. Of which 27 of them are either from Dubai or had transited through Dubai.
The total number of Coronavirus patients in Ethiopia has reached 74 as of April 13. Fourteen patients have so far fully recovered, and three have died from it, as reported by the Ministry of Health.
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