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18 Mar 2020 | 07:11 AM UTC

Ethiopia: Government enacts restrictive measures due to COVID-19 March 16 /update 2

Authorities enact restrictive measures after five cases of COVID-19 were confirmed on March 16; follow authority directives



On Monday, March 16, the Ethiopian government announced a series of measures in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. These measures, effective for at least two weeks, include:

  • A ban on large gatherings, including sporting events, while small gatherings now require a clearance from the Health Ministry.
  • The closure of all educational institutions with the exception of higher learning institutions
  • Religious institutions and places of worship have been tasked to limit gatherings
  • Government buses will be made available free of charge to help control crowding on public transportSpecial buses will be designated to take public servants to work. Private transporters actors are have also been asked to follow suit.
  • Courts and some government services have been suspended.

As of Tuesday, March 17, there are five confirmed COVID-19 cases within the country. Further international spread of COVID-19 is expected over the coming days and weeks.


The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.


Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.

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