Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in Ethiopia declare state of emergency April 8 to halt spread of COVID-19. Nature and duration of measures unclear.

This alert affects Ethiopia

This alert began 08 Apr 2020 14:22 GMT and is scheduled to expire 10 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Heightened security, travel and business disruptions

Summary
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed declared a state of emergency April 8, to halt the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The exact measures that the government will implement are unclear; however, the proposed measures must be sent to parliament for approval within 48 hours, after which they will be made public. The duration of the state of emergency is also unclear.

Emergency and essential services will likely remain operational for the duration of the state of emergency. Sporadic clashes are possible if any group attempts to break the measures; security forces are likely to act quickly to control such incidents.

Authorities in Ethiopia had previously announced the closure of its land borders, effective March 23. The restriction does not apply to the movement of essential goods. Limited access to the country via air travel remains possible, though all foreign arrivals must enter a 14-day quarantine. Ethiopian authorities continue to take other measures to reduce the number of infected individuals in the country, including the suspension of Ethiopian Airlines (ET) flights to 91 destinations, closure of bars and nightclubs, banning public gatherings, and requiring most employees to work from home.

Background and Analysis
The measures adopted by the government correspond with similar actions taken by other regional governments in recent days in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
World Health Organization (WHO): www.who.int

Ministry of Health: www.moh.gov.et