Ethiopia declares State of Emergency over Coronavirus pandemic scare
ADDIS ABABA - Ethiopia declared the State of Emergency on Wednesday as a measure to contain the rapid spread of Coronavirus pandemic, the office of the Prime Minister reported, becoming the latest country to invoke a constitutional clause in the fight against the virus.
South Africa, Guinea, are some of the African nations to have declared the emergency, as the world grapples with the pandemic, the worst since World War II, which left thousands of people dead.
Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed's office said Article 93 of the Constitution was involved, a move which would now see several restrictions and resource mobilization pursued all together.
"Considering the gravity of the COVID19, the Government of Ethiopia has enacted a State of Emergency according to Article 93 of the Constitution," read the tweet from the Office of the PM.
"Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali calls upon all to follow the ensuing measures that will further define the SOE," added the statement, which was also separately posted by Dr. Abiy Ahmed.
The move came as the number of COVID19 cases has shown a rapid increase in the country, according to a statement issued by the government, state-owned Fana reported.
So far, the Horn of Africa nation has recorded 52 positive cases of Coronavirus. Two deaths and four recoveries have also been recorded by the authorities, Fana added.
Although the country has taken various stringent measures to curb the escalating cases of COVID-19, the infections have continued to rise exponentially, further forcing the government to now restrict movements.
As part of robust efforts to contain the spread of the virus, schools and universities were closed and non-essential workers told to work from home. Residents have also been asked to observe social distancing and washing hands.
Last week, Ethiopia postponed August's parliamentary polls in which Dr. Ahmed would have participated for the first time since taken over in 2018. Electoral body NEBE cited "current Coronavirus uncertainty" as the reason behind the postponement.
Dr. Ahmed met several political leaders on Tuesday in which he engaged them on strict measures that should be taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The meeting may have informed the State of Emergency declaration.
"I met again today with leaders of competing political parties to discuss new measures that will go in effect in the next few days in relation to COVID19," he said on Twitter. "Considering the effects of COVID19 are multidimensional and far-reaching, we can only overcome the challenges together."
According to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University, more than 1.4 million cases of coronavirus have been registered globally. Of the infected people, 83,000 have died while over 300,000 have recovered.
Kenya remains the highly hit nation in East and the Horn of Africa. On Wednesday, the confirmed cases stood at 179. Of the figure, six have since died and seven others recovered, Health Chief Administrative Secretary Mercy Mwangangi said.
The East Africa nation has declared partial lockdown in the capital, Nairobi. Other regions affected where residents are not allowed in and out of the territory include Mombasa, Kilifi, and Kwale, officials said.