More Cases of Coronavirus Reported in Ethiopia

By Staff Reporter                                                              

COVID-19March 15, 2020 ( -- More cases of the novel coronavirus are being reported in Ethiopia including on two Japanese citizens and one Ethiopian, the Ethiopian Ministry of Health has disclosed.

The ministry said the newly infected people had contacts with the first Japanese citizen named by the government (and not disclosed here for privacy reasons) was confirmed positive for COVID-19 last Friday in Addis Ababa.

The ministry also said it has quarantined another 117 people who were believed to have contacts with the first victim.

Coronavirus cases in Ethiopia are still very low compared to other countries in the world. The Ethiopian Ministry of Health wants to keep that low by having the public take appropriate measures, including washing hands frequently and avoiding contact with a large group of people. Nevertheless, that hasn't stopped many Ethiopians from worrying whether the virus will spread as in some other countries.

The Japanese citizen reportedly paid a visit to the Oromia region where he had a series of discussions with officials of the region’s education bureau.

Oromia Education Bureau Head Dr. Tolla Berisso has reportedly isolated himself after he learned Nobuhiru tested positive for the virus. Dr. Tolla said he had extensive discussions with Nobuhiru on education matters.

Similarly, a US citizen who was tested positive for the COVID-19 in his country after staying for about a week in Ethiopia had contacts and discussions with Ethiopian army generals. It is not clear the army generals are among 117 people who were quarantined by the Ethiopian Public Health Institute.

More than 5,700 people globally have died from COVID-19 as the illness is officially known, while more than 156,000 infections have been confirmed in dozens of countries, according to the World Health Organization.

Meanwhile, the Council of Ministers approved a bill to introduce four additional working languages alongside Amharic, which has been the only working language of the nation.

Accordingly, Afan Oromo, the most widely spoken language in Ethiopia, Afar, Somali, and Tigrigna will all be adopted as official languages of the government after the bill endorsed by the House of Peoples Representatives.

The introduction of additional working languages is among a series of reforms being introduced by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

According to the latest census, Afan Oromo speakers account for 34.4% of the population, while Somali and Tigrigna speakers account for 6 percent respectively. The share of Afar people is just 1.7%, and the Sidama and Wolayita each have twice as many people.

Amharic to be the dominant language of the federal government, history shows it was reinforced during the era of Emperor Haile Selassie (1930-1974), who made it the lone working language under what is called the "unity law."

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