ADDIS ABABA - Despite the government's relentless effort to curtail spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the country's health infrastructure remains largely insufficient to treat the increasing number of COVID-19 cases.
Yacob Seman, Medical Services Director General at the Ministry of Health told The Ethiopian Herald that though the death rate is still low, coronavirus is spreading fast and the number of people that need to be admitted into intensive care unit is on the rise.
COVID-19 is not treatable; Yacob said adding adhering to preventive measures is the only way to control the spread of the virus.
Currently, following the lifting of the state of emergency allowed the resumption of the movement of people and socio-economic activities. Hence, people have to take maximum care in going about their daily businesses. "They have to be able to wear face masks, keep social distancing and their personal hygiene. More attention needs to be given to Addis as it is the centre from which the virus is spreading to other areas."
If the government and the public work in collaboration, it is possible to control the pandemic and minimize the damage, he added.
As part of the effort to treat the increasing number of patients, Ethiopia's COVID-19 field hospital, which has 128-198 beds, was inaugurated and started operation. Hence, it is playing a vital role in treating COVID-19 patients, he said.
Following the lifting of the state of emergency, public transport providers have started to give service with full capacity and schools are set to be reopened. Kalkidan Kefile, a resident of Addis Ababa said the government has to come up with some strategies to limit the spread of the virus. The people have to also discharge their responsibility by reducing movement and avoiding social gatherings. "For instance, I didn't go to my family to celebrate the New Year to avoid contact."
The effective awareness-raising activities observed at the start of the pandemic have to be resumed and sustained.
Mekash Birel, a small business owner who lives at Benishangul-Gumuz Regional State, Gilgel Beles town said that the impact of COVID-19 is painful particularly for small business.
"I was forced to close my business which is showing live football matches. After the lifting of the emergency, I am planning to reopen it but we still need organized awareness-raising activities to carry out normal activities."