Ethiopia: Govt Bans Public Events as Coronavirus Cases Hit Five

An early childhood development centre in Ethiopia (file photo).

Ethiopia has announced closure of schools and suspension of sporting events, as well as a ban on large gatherings across the country as a precautionary measure to contain the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19).

This comes after the country reported a new coronavirus case yesterday, raising its total number of confirmed patients to five.

As of March 16, 2020, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has announced that all schools across the country will be closed for the next 15 days, subject to further assessment.

However, students of University and other higher education institutions will stay indoors while receiving necessary monitoring and care at their respective campuses.

The Ministry of Science and Higher Education is currently working on e-learning options that will allow students to receive course contents online.

PM Abiy stated that if necessary, small meetings should be held with the support, recognition and monitoring of the government.

The new virus patient is an Ethiopian who recently flew back home from Dubai.

Before that, four new cases were confirmed in Addis Ababa. All the five patients are said to be in a stable condition.

Places of worship have also urged to limit gatherings, with religious leaders urged to carefully consider circumstances in which congregants meet.

The PM has also ordered government vehicles to provide transportation services free of charge to the public to ease overcrowding the public system.

He also called on private companies to support public transport to reduce congestion.

The government is currently making efforts to step up hygiene measures including provision of protective face masks, medical kits and disinfectant to the public.

Having international flights to different Covid-19-hit countries and being a major tourist destination has puts Ethiopia at risk of the pandemic.

Ethiopia announced its first novel coronavirus case in the capital last Friday when a 48-year-old Japanese national tested positive.

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