Addis Ababa Police Arrests over 2800 “Violators” of Emergency Rule

By Staff Reporter

Masks-Addis-AbabaMay 16, 2020 ( -- The Addis Ababa Police arrested more than 2800 people who allegedly violated the state of emergency declared by the government to stem COVID-19 pandemic.

Wearing face masks is not mandatory everywhere in Ethiopia, but strict rules have been enforced to cover mouth and nose in public, market, and transportation places where more than four people are available.

The Ethiopian state of emergency issued a month ago made it a crime punishable by law for anyone who is found walking or staying in such places without wearing a face mask.

In a surprise campaign conducted in 20 selected places in Akaka Kality, Lideta, Bole, Nifas Silk Lafto, and Qerkos-keranio sub-cities, the metropolitan police have arrested over 2800 people who were found while shaking hands, walking without face masks or standing or hanging with less than two meters apart.

The measure was meant to curb the spread of coronavirus among individuals and the majority of the city dwellers began to wear the masks after the police officers began surprise detention since Wednesday.

“Out of the total people arrested, 1941 were walking without face masks, another 860 did not maintain the required social distance and the other 12 were caught while shaking hands,” the police statement noted.

Meanwhile, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church reopened churches that were closed last month to stem the spread coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement on Thursday, the Holy Synod of the church announced the resumption of the church services yet the government did not comment on the decision of the church.

The rationale behind the Synod’s decision to reopen the churches was that “the disruption of the church services has affected the spiritual lives of the congregation and tens of thousands of people were subjected to hunger as the handouts from the faithful were interrupted."

The Holy Synod advises the faithful to perform the prayers by taking all the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the pandemic are in place.

The police had to guard doors of churches and reportedly taken forceful measures against members of the clergy and the congregation.

Ethiopia confirmed 15 more COVID 19 cases on Friday,  bringing the total number of cases in the country to 287.

The newly identified cases were out of the 3,707 laboratory tests conducted over the last 24 hours. All the confirmed cases are Ethiopians aged from 17 to 38 years, according to Dr. Lia Tadesse, Minister of Health.

Four patients have recovered from the virus, taking the total number of recoveries to 112. There are now 168 active cases taking treatments in the country.

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