By Staff Reporter
March 16, 2020 (Ezega.com) -- Ethiopia has suspended academic activities in schools and universities as well as large gatherings effective Monday, March 16, 2020, until end of the month in a bid to reduce the risk of infections of the deadly coronavirus.
In a briefing on Monday, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced the suspension of academic and social activities after the horn African nation tasted five people positive for COVID-19.
The COVID-19 victims in Ethiopia consist of three Japanese and two Ethiopians who according to the premier are in a “stable condition”.
The decision has come after the Prime Minister held consultations with his cabinet members along with various stakeholders including Ethiopian Airlines, Ministry of Education, Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI) and Ministry of Health.
Abiy said students of higher education institutions will remain on their campuses and dormitories receiving course content online.
The government has also decided to avail government buses free of charge to the public to minimize overcrowding in public transport stations.
Ahead of the government’s decision to suspend large gatherings and sporting activities, a fundraising event at the Millennium Hall and Ethiopian Women Great Run at Meskel square were held with the participation of tens of thousands of people.
The government’s decision will cause over 28 million students to stay at home across the country which is the latest in the list of countries that has ordered the closure of schools.
The Ethiopian Ministry of Finance has announced the allocation of 300 million birr in a bid to contain the spread of the virus as the ruling prosperity party injected another 100 million birr for the same cause.
The Ethiopian Public Health Institute and Ministry of Health are urging all citizens and residents to avoid gatherings in public places, avoid all but essential travel at this time, and apply preventive measures to prevent infections as recommended by the Ministry on its website and its accounts on social media.
The Ministry has also set up a dedicated, round-the-clock call center to answer all questions and inquiries related to coronavirus (COVID-19). The hotline number is 8335 and is toll-free.
The premier also advised religious institutions and places of worship to minimize gatherings.
Cases of coronavirus in Africa continue to increase, with the flu-like illness now having reached over 25 nations in the continent. The fast spread of the virus is forcing authorities in many countries to take drastic measures.
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