ADDIS ABEBA – Ethiopia needs at least 250 million Birr to increase its preparedness to contain a potential outbreak of coronavirus disease, now known as COVID-19, a top official said on Tuesday.
The finance needs to be allocated for the coming three to six months, said Dr. Ebba Abate General-director of Ethiopia Public Health Institute (EPHI).
“Our organization has already requested this budget for the federal government,” said Dr. Ebba during a press briefing on Tuesday.
The federal government has already set up a committee that leads country’s response to the coronavirus.
Deputy Prime Minister of Ethiopia Demeke Mekonnen, who is the head of the committee, has already given the direction on the budget request.
The budget will finance for technical works and acquisition materials including masks and laboratory equipment that EPHI needs to prevent the virus.
“We are also working with our partners including WHO and Africa CDC for further funds because the virus is increasing across the world and the country needs more prevention mechanism,” said Dr. Ebba.
The virus has currently expanded to 34 countries in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
“We are now giving short term training for our professionals to make medical tests for international travelers strict,” said Ebaa.
Since January, there have been numerous alerts for coronavirus disease reported in Ethiopia but after investigation, including the testing of suspect cases, no case has been confirmed in the country.
More than 4,800 passengers with travel history to China have been screened. The country’s main international airport in the capital Addis Ababa is the third busiest in Africa.
The national flag carrier, Ethiopian Airlines flies 35 times a week to China, but not to Wuhan city in Hubei province, the epicenter of the ongoing coronavirus epidemic.
In the past seven days, only one suspect case was in the isolation center. The tests, however, have confirmed that she is free from the virus and no one is placed in the isolation center, said Ebba.
He advised the public to call 8335 for coronavirus related information and possible case.
By Mhret G/Kristos
Image: Dr. Eba (Left) together with state minister of health Lia Tadesse (c) during a press conference in January [Photo File/Health Minsitry]