On Thursday, April 23, local authorities announced that the state of emergency in place in the Tigray region will be relaxed with immediate effect following the results of the state-wide door-to-door coronavirus disease (COVID-19) screening testing campaign. Each test kit resulted in a negative result, indicating that there are no additional COVID-19 cases. While the mandatory 14-day period for all arrivals at Alula Aba Nega airport (MQX) remains in place along with a ban on social gatherings, authorities lifted public transportation restrictions within the state, and allowed 'small and minimum business entreprises' as well as bars, restaurants, and cafes to open for takeout services. Furthermore, civil servants will return to work. All operations that are now allowed per law must be conducted within strict limits of social distancing and observance of other COVID-19 prevention protocols.
Public transportation is banned in the states of Oromia, Amhara, and the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region. As of April 24, it remains unknown how long the ban will remain in effect.
In the rest of the country, border closures and the prohibition of all non-essential inbound and outbound traffic and travel remains in place as of Friday, April 24. Schools, bars, nightclubs, and other large gatherings are also banned and security forces have been deployed to enforce the regulations. All passengers arriving in Ethiopia are subject a to a mandatory 14-day quarantine at their own expense in selected hotels in Addis Ababa. Individuals transiting through Ethiopia with valid onward tickets are exempt from quarantine.
As of Friday, April 24, there are 117 confirmed COVID-19 cases and three related deaths nationwide. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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