Ethiopia Suspends More Flights, Introduces Local Medicine to Contain COVID-19

By Staff Reporter

COVID-19March 29, 2020 ( -- The government of Ethiopia has announced further measures ranging from suspension of additional flights to the invention of local medicines in order to contain the deadly (COVID-19).

Announcing the government’s decisions, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said the Ethiopian Airlines has suspended flights to a total of 72 destinations, up from 30 what it did early last week.

The Prime Minister said more than 134 facilities have been identified for quarantine, isolation and treatment centers including the Grand Millenium Hall with varying levels of equipment.

The government also announced a tax exemption for the import of materials and equipment to be used in the prevention and containment of COVID-19.

As part of an effort to stabilize the economy, the National Bank of Ethiopia will avail 15 billion birr liquidity for private banks to enable them to provide debt relief and additional loans for their customers in need.

He said banks will avail of foreign currency for importers who are engaged in importing primarily goods and input materials for the prevention of COVID-19.

According to the premier, the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia will increase the amount of money individuals can transfer through mobile banking, to limit in-person cash handling.

The Ministry of Revenue will expedite VAT returns to support companies with cash flows as the Ministry of Trade and Industry to continue strengthening the measures it is undertaking to control price increments and supply shortages of consumer goods.

The government also called upon all citizens to strengthen the efforts of the national resource mobilization committee which is in the process of collecting materials like beds, mattresses, bedsheets, ventilators and other medical and non-medical supplies.

Strict adherence to social distancing protocols is expected within market areas and religious establishments. The Federal Government has been granted a constitutional mandate to halt religious gatherings in times of grave national emergencies. But before enacting these constitutional measures, it once again appeals to all citizens that they are practicing social distancing protocols.

Abiy said about 50 passengers arrive daily in Addis Ababa and all passengers will be placed in mandatory quarantine for 15 days in designated hotels but those passengers who cannot afford the hotel expenses will be transferred to other places.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Innovation and Technology, Ministry of Health and traditional medicinal practitioners announced that they have approved a traditional medicine that was tested on humans and animals since the COVID-19 outbreak was in December 2019.

Abraham Belay, Minister of Innovation and Technology that the country traditional medicine experts developed the medication for the virus that has not yet have official medication all over the world.

Meanwhile, Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission has gone into self-quarantine after his staff member was tested positive for the deadly coronavirus.

I can confirm that one of my collaborators in my Office at the African Union Commission has tested positive for #COVID=19. The staff member is in a stable condition. As a precautionary measure, I am under quarantine as are some other collaborators in my Office, Mahamat tweeted.

Mahamat had discussions with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed over the containment of COVID-19 across the continent but it was not clear if the discussion was held before Mahamat’s collaborator was tasted positive for COVID-19.

So far, Ethiopia has confirmed four additional cases of coronavirus (COVID-19, bringing the total number of infected people by the deadly virus to 16.

According to a statement issued by the Ethiopian Public Health Institute, three of the confirmed cases are 61, 28 and 24 years old Ethiopian nationals.

Two of them have no travel history abroad. However, the 28-year-old Ethiopian has a travel history to Israel on March 21st.

The fourth confirmed case is a 72-year-old Mauritian who resides in Addis Ababa with a travel history from Brazzaville, Congo, on March 14, 2020.

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