Critical Alert

As of Oct. 9, officials in Ethiopia have reopened land borders. Several COVID-19 restrictions remain in place. 

Alert Begins 09 Oct 2020 03:01 PM UTC
Alert Expires 22 Oct 2020 11:59 PM UTC


  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide 
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Heightened security, travel and business disruptions


As of Oct. 9, Ethiopian authorities have reopened land borders as part of the nation’s efforts to ease restrictions to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Previous measures, such as wearing facemasks in public places and abbreviated daily working hours of 0730-1530, remain effective.

Other measures that remain in place include:


  • International airports, including Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (ADD), are open but operating at much-reduced levels. Heightened screenings are in effect.
  • All international airports, including ADD, have enforced measures to screen passengers arriving, departing, or transiting through Ethiopia. Arriving passengers over the age of 10 years must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result issued 120 hours before arrival in all ports of entry. Arrivals (except diplomats) must then complete seven days of mandatory self-quarantine. For transit waiting periods of over 24 hours, passengers will be taken to a designated transit hotel and cannot leave the area during the transit period.
  • Oromia, Amhara, Harari, and the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples Region (SNNPR) regions have enforced movement restrictions. Specific details are unclear. Tigray State requires passengers to provide a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 24 hours of arrival; passengers entering the region without a test result are required to quarantine for seven days.
  • A ban on gatherings, closure of bars and cinemas, suspension of all schools, and sporting activities remains in effect.


The central government and regional governments will likely announce additional restrictions in the coming weeks, depending on disease activity; authorities could announce these measures in short notice.


Background and Analysis
Ethiopia's travel restrictions and preventive measures are similar to actions other governments are taking globally 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.


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.


Back to the COVID-19 Risk Intelligence & Resource Center