The Ethiopian government has closed all schools and limited all gatherings to 4 people. In accordance with these regulations, PROJECT-E has suspended all training at the Hospitality Institute. Our staff is working from home and the students are continuing their education through online learning. We will update you in due course when we have more information to share. In the meantime we hope you stay safe and well.
We are currently in the midst of a global pandemic. More than two million people have been infected with coronavirus, and close to 150,000 deaths have been reported worldwide. Africa has been the continent least affected by the virus, with over 20,000 confirmed cases – although the real number is feared to be much greater. A study by the African Union suggests that the virus could cost Africa 20 million jobs. In the midst of all the chaos however, Jack Ma, the co-founder of the Alibaba Group, has very generously donated thousands of ventilators, testing kits and medical gear to all 54 African nations.
Ethiopia confirmed its first case on March 12, and has reported 105 cases so far. On Sunday 5th April 2020, the Ministry of Health announced the first two deaths from COVID-19 in the country. The first victim is a 60-year-old woman and the second victim is a 56-year-old man. Following the death of the first COVID-19 victim, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed addressed the nation by saying, “I urge you to remain calm and strictly adhere to the measures that have been put in place. As we all collaboratively prepare for any scenarios, it is vital that we do so ground in faith and work diligently to mitigate the spread in our communities”.
The Ethiopian government is doing its part in controlling the spread of the virus, although the country is still in partial lockdown. Schools and events have been cancelled, but international flights are still operating. Still, Ethiopian Airlines has discontinued flights to 30 of the most affected nations in the world. Foreign travellers arriving in Addis Ababa airport are mandated to undergo a 14-day compulsory quarantine at a hotel or similar facility, at the traveller’s own expense.
According to the Straits Times, Ethiopia ranks among the world’s worst country in coronavirus testing rates, with 16 tests for every million people. This is extremely concerning, considering how cases have been exponentially increasing. To prevent catching or spreading the virus, the government has urged the public to stay vigilant and follow all health precautions: washing hands frequently, avoiding public transportation and staying indoors. These announcements are being displayed on billboards and frequently broadcasted on radio and national television.
Since the outbreak there has been a surge in fake news, therefore it is imperative that we stay positive, proactive and continue to stay alert on vital health information from reliable sources only. To protect our mental health during this challenging time, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends seeking information to take practical steps towards preparation and prevention, as well as to avoid reading news that could cause us to feel anxious or distressed.
Written by Eden Tadesse