The Government of Ethiopia today announces availing 5 billion birr (about $154 million) to combat the spread of COVID-19 pandemic and to undertake preparedness tasks.
This is indicated by Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed who met with heads of the security sector today to discuss on preparedness in relation to COVID-19 containment. It is indicated that all regions in Ethiopia are preparing quarantine centers and their medical professionals, in the event of hastened spread. Ethiopia is among 13 African countries the World Health Organization (WHO) considers as top priority for COVID-19 readiness due to direct links or a high volume of travel to China.
So far a total of 11 people are found COVID-19 pandemic positive in Ethiopia, according to the government report. Though countries in Africa are less affected by the pandemic at the moment in relation to the number of people infected by the virus, reports show that the continent has already began suffering from economic impacts of COVID-19.
Considering the fast rate of spread globally and the increasing positive cases confirmed in Ethiopia, various sub-committees of the National Ministerial Committee have been formed, including a security sub-committee, according to the statement from the Office of the Prime Minister. Following in depth discussions held, Prime Minister Abiy announced additional key measures, according to the statement. The additional measures include –
– As of March 23, 2020, the security sector will begin to enforce measures taken by the
Ministerial Committee to cease large gatherings and maintain social distancing,
– Government institutions, including political parties, to adhere to social distancing and
preventative measures when convening meetings,
– Government institutions to facilitate working from home options on a case by cases basis for some employees.
– Public transporters to cease overcrowding, which will be monitored and enforced by traffic police and volunteers.
– The National Defense Forces and Police to undertake internal preparations and get ready to undertake preventative tasks nationally.
– Continued measures to be taken against businesses illegally increasing prices on consumer goods.
– Media to play a focused and critical role in raising prevention awareness at all levels.
– The National Defense Forces to halt the movement of people along all borders, with the exception of incoming essential goods to the country.
The number of countries reporting cases of COVID-19 in Africa has been increasing over the past weeks. Including the latest addition of Uganda and Eritrea, the total number of countries the global pandemic is confirmed in the continent is over 740. So far the continent has registered about two dozens of people have died, according to the report of WHO.
Globally Italy leads reporting over 5,400 deaths. While China has lost about 3,200 lives and Spain over 2,100 people. Globally COVID-19 pandemic has claimed over 15,308 lives so far infecting over 300,000 people. The question many people are asking now is, ‘will Africa’s poor health infrastructures handle the pressure of COVID-19 if the virus accelerates its spread like now witnessed in Europe?’