ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia
Ethiopia on Monday enforced strict coronavirus measures, banning travelers with COVID-19 positive status from entering the country for an indefinite time.
In a statement last Thursday, the Health Ministry had said the new measures were introduced as the country grappled with an “alarming” increase in the number of cases.
Accordingly, travelers known to be positive for coronavirus will not be allowed to enter Ethiopia. Earlier, travelers would have to self-isolate or quarantine.
The law enforcement bodies will tighten monitoring with the police empowered to arrest anyone without a mask or any group of people making physical contact.
Violators, the statement said, may face up to three years behind bars and fines.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is spreading faster than ever,” Health Minister Lia Tadesse had said in the statement, adding more than 700 ICU beds have been exhausted and the country has no more capacity to admit critical patients.
Ethiopia, a Horn of Africa country with more than 110 million people, has so far recorded 200,500 cases, 2,801 deaths and 154,323 recoveries.
On March 13, on the very anniversary of the first case of COVID-19 was announced, Ethiopia launched a vaccination program with the jabs received under the COVAX facility – the world’s largest collaborative platform that aims at ensuring equitable distribution of vaccines across the globe.
It plans to vaccinate 20% of its population by the end of 2021.