The Government of Ethiopia is set to receive over 3,000 Ethiopians deported by the Government of Saudi Arabia, which took the measure in response to coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic outbreak.
The Minister of Health of Ethiopia, Dr. Liya Tadesse told Addis Admass, a local private Amharic language weekly newspaper, that over 3,000 Ethiopian will be arriving from Saudi Arabia in the coming two weeks. She expressed that the health of the returnees is a concern for the Government of Ethiopia as the deported Ethiopians didn’t get coronavirus test before their departure from Saudi.
Some 200 deported Ethiopians from Saudi Arabia are expected to arrive daily, according to the Minister, who stated that the returnees will be hosted in university campuses where they will be quarantined for two weeks. The Minister stated that each returnee will be hosted in a separate room during the period of two weeks mandatory quarantine.
Thousands of Ethiopians work Saudi Arabia, mainly as maids.Recently Human Rights Watch in its statement advised gulf states to find alternative solutions to thousands of detained foreign nationals whose condition is suitable for the spread of COVID-19.
“As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, Gulf states should take prompt measures to protect the health and rights of detainees and staff in immigration detention centers, including by releasing people and finding alternatives to detention,” said Michael Page, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, in its recent statement.
The returning of thousands of Ethiopians is expected to bring challenges to the health and economy of Ethiopia, which has already began feeling the severe impacts of COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. Sectors such as the tourism and hotel including the most profitable airline in Africa, Ethiopian Airlines, which lost $550 million in a few months, have been severely hit following the outbreak of coronavirus.
Meanwhile compare to other countries only three people have died in Ethiopia due to the global pandemic so far with total of 74 confirmed cases of which 14 have recovered. So far Ethiopia has conducted a total of 4,110 coronavirus laboratory tests.