Ethiopia is one of East / Horn of Africa’s least impacted nations as compared to rate of COVID-19 case growth and infection of its neighbours.
A state of emergency lasting five-months has been imposed by the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed led government. All land borders have since been shut as a virus control measure with a raft of restrictions and enforcement of physical distancing and mask wearing measures.
Elections planned for May this year were also postponed citing the effect of the pandemic. Ethiopia played an instrumental role in the deployment of virus supplies donated by Chinese businessman Ali Baba. This article will focus on major developments coming from the country.
June 8: 2,070 cases, PM defends ‘no lockdown’
Ethiopia crossed the 2,000 mark on Sunday when 86 new cases took the tally to 2,020. The country joins the region’s top infected nations, now only behind Kenya, Djibouti and Somalia.
Today, PM Abiy addressed the new opening of parliament addressing a range of issues around the government response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Among others, he defended the decision of the national flier, Ethiopian Airlines, to continue flights to many countries- including China.
He also spoke about not imposing lockdowns as a virus containment measure: “Impulsive measures [i.e. flight suspensions] have hurt many African countries [….]. It’s dangerous to introduce measures without realising [local] realities,” he told MPs.
Confirmed cases = 2,070
Deaths = 27
Recoveries = 344
Active cases = 1,647
Total tests = 142,960
June 3: 1,486 cases, community transmissions mounting
Ethiopia’s Health Minister is worried over the spate of community transmissions of COVID-19. Lia Tadesse said recent laboratory tests showed that virus cases are “increasingly rapidly due to the presence of community transmissions.”
“The cases reported within the last two weeks are more than 300 percent as compared with the previous two months since the first case was reported.”
The Health Ministry added that it had activated more treatment centers with the increase of cases being reported across the country.
Confirmed cases = 1,486 (142 new cases)
Deaths = 17 (three new)
Recoveries = 246
Active cases = 1,219
Total tests = 120,429
June 2: 131m masks needed, over 1,000 active cases
Ethiopia’s needs 131 million face masks in the next four months, state-linked Fana Broadcasting Corporate report. Health Minister Lia Tadesse disclosed that the supplies are needed in healthcare facilities across the country.
The country’s industrial parks have hinted in the past that it was diversifying to the production of masks. Wearing of masks is compulsory in the capital and other parts of the country.
The country has so far confirmed 1,344 after recording 87 new coronavirus cases. The death toll is up to 14 from 12. Over 160,000 tests have been conducted whiles active cases crossed th 1,000 mark, stands at 1,097.
May 31: 109 new cases takes tally to 1,172
Ethiopia’s COVID-19 case load reached 1,172 as of today with 109 confirmed new cases. Deaths stand at 11 with 209 total recoveries.
Over 2,800 samples collected from among others high-risk community members, people at mandatory quarantine centers and suspects at isolation centers returned the 109 new cases.
The capital Addis Ababa accounted for 99 out of the figure whiles Oromia, Tigray and Harari regions catered for the remaining. All the new cases are Ethiopians with 61 being male and 48 females, the daily situational update noted.
May 30: Cases pass 1,000 mark; total tests top 100,000
Ethiopia’s confirmed cases passed the 1,000 mark after today’s tallies were released. 95 new cases out of over 5,000 tests took the tally to 1,063 confirmed cases.
30 of the 95 new cases have travel history abroad, 4 have contact with previous patients whiles the remaining 61 have neither travel history, nor known contact traces. They are among the alarming rate of community transmissions.
Meanwhile, 11 more recoveries were recorded taking the tally to 208. Total deaths at eight with five patients in intensive care. 845 patients are currently in treatment centers. Overall tests have also passed the 100,000 mark – currently 106,615.
On Friday, the COVID-19 Ministerial Committee led by Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed met for review of measures amid mounting of cases. The PM gave direction for the further strengthening of testing capacities nationally.
The state-run FBC also reported him as stressing the need to ensure productivity in key sectors is maintained while responding to the pandemic. Health Minister Dr Lia Tadesse confirmed at the meeting that 67% of the country’s total confirmed cases are from the capital Addis Ababa.
As part of the efforts to prevent the spread of the virus, more than 700 teams of health experts were deployed across the country to hold contact tracing, besides a door-to-door screening and surveillance campaign.
May 28: Field hospital on Addis outshirts
Ethiopia will soon have a COVID-19 field hospital on the outskirts of the capital Addis Ababa. Health Minister Lia Tadesse visited and inaugurated the ongoing construction on Wednesday along with World Food Programme, WFP, head David Beasley and other partners.
The minister said work on the facility was “progressing rapidly.” Adding: “I would like to appreciate WFP for this effort and continued support.”
She added that the WHO and the ministry are currently discussing how the hospital can potentially serve as a training center for emergency medical response teams to benefit Ethiopia and the region.
The facility originally was to cater for UN staffers before it was designated a field hospital. It is built on a 25,000 sqm land, the field hospital is expected to go operational after 10 days. It’s been under construction for the past 3 weeks.
Total confirmed cases = 731 (new cases = 30)
Total recoveries = 181
Total deaths = 6
Active cases = 544.
May 24: 193 cases in 5 days as tally hits 582
Ethiopia has recorded back-to-back one-day spikes, record 61 new cases on Saturday and a further 81 on Sunday toppling the Saturday record.
Of the new 88; Addis Ababa recorded 73 cases. The remaining 15 are from regional states: 8 from Tigray; 4 from Oromia; 1 from Harari; and 2 truck drivers.
Ethiopia’s tally has therefore jumped by 193 new cases in a space of five days. The tallies have consistently been on the rise, triggering calls for more robust government measures to halt spread of the virus.
Total confirmed cases = 582 (new cases = 88)
Total recoveries = 152 (new recoveries = 8)
Total deaths = 5
Active cases = 423
Trajectory of infections between May 20 – 24
May 20: 389 (24 new cases)
May 21: 398 (9 new cases)
May 22: 399 (10 new cases)
May 22: 433 (34 new cases)
May 23: 494 (61 new cases)
May 24: 582 (88 new cases)
May 19: 365 cases with 60 new cases in three days
Total confirmed cases = 365 (new cases between May 17 – 19 = 60)
Total recoveries = 120 (new recoveries = 8)
Total deaths = 5
Active cases = 238
Ethiopia’s case count spiked on Monday by 35 new cases (a daily record) whiles 14 new cases were recorded today. Added to 11 cases recorded last Sunday, 60 cases have been recorded in the last three days. The tally now stands at 365.
Concerns had been raised by analysts over the spate of new case increases after it took just a week to go from 200 to go past the 300 mark as against a much lengthier period from 0 to 100 and 100 to 200.
The country, however, remains one of the least impacted in a region where neighbours Djibouti, Somalia and Sudan has crossed the 1000 mark. Kenya is past 900 confirmed cases as of today.
Major African stats: May 19 at 6:00 GMT:
- Confirmed cases = 88,264
- Number of deaths = 2,832
- Recoveries = 33,898
- Active cases = 51,534