Twelve COVID-19 Diagnostic Laboratories Begin Services: Ethiopian Health Minister

By Staff Reporter

Dr.-Lia-Minister-Health-EthiopiaApril 22, 2020 ( -- Ethiopian Minister of Health Lia Tadesse said twelve additional COVID-19 diagnostic laboratories have become operational this week as cases in the country slowly but steadily increased.

The new COVID-19 laboratories have brought the total number of coronavirus testing facilities in the country to 20, Dr. Lia Tadesse said in a briefing on Tuesday.

According to the minister, 11 of the laboratories will be providing services in different regional towns and cities, while the other nine labs are located in Addis Ababa, including a lab owned by a private hospital.

The 20 laboratories will have a capacity to test 3,985 samples in a day, Dr. Lia said, stating that additional five laboratories will conduct testing soon to further enhance testing capacity.

So far, the country has reported 114 cases of coronavirus. Six of which were confirmed in the last two days (three in each day) out of more than 1100 samples tested over the past 48 hours.

Addis Ababa remains to be the epicenter of the pandemic, followed by Dire Dawa city in the eastern part of the country after thousands of Ethiopians were evicted from neighboring Djibouti where the virus hit worst in east Africa.  

The Addis Ababa Administration has readied the Saint Petros Specialized, Saint Paul hospitals as well as the Millennium Hall on top of the functioning Eka Kotebe COVID-treatment centers in case of greater infections in the city.

Regional states have also prepared treatment centers for COVID-19 patients to treat victims of the virus.

Reports reveal that thousands of Ethiopian nationals have continued crossing into Dire Dawa and JigJiga cities since two weeks ago from the neighboring Djibouti and Somali Land.

The unchecked migrants who did not undergo testing against COVID-19 raised concerns over the spread of the virus in the two cities and other parts of the country.

“There must be a quarantine center at Silti zone to check the health status of the irregular returnees coming from Djibouti. Otherwise, the spread of the virus would be a disaster,” Peace and Security Head of the Dire Dawa City administration Mussa Teha warned.

Mustefa Omer, Acting President of Somali State which shares a border with Djibouti said the number of Ethiopian returnees from Djibouti and Somali land is on the rise. He said currently the returnees are being quarantined in the border town of Dewaele.

One of the three confirmed cases on Tuesday is a Chinese national residing in the town of Sebeta, Oromia regional state, according to the minister.

Ethiopia has so far registered three deaths and 16 recoveries from the virus and currently, there are more than 4000 people in quarantine centers across the country.

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