COVID-19: Govt Urges Religious Institutions to Stop Large Gatherings, again


ADDIS ABEBA – The federal government  may use force to disperse large gatherings after some religious leaders continue to host large gatherings amid coronavirus outbreak.

The East African nation so far has 16 cases and no deaths from the virus. 

The federal government ordered security forces to enforce a ban on large gatherings aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19.

But enforcing them has proven difficult as religious groups continue to meet. 

“The federal government has been granted a constitutional mandate to halt religious gatherings in times of grave national emergencies,” says the prime minister office of Ethiopia in a statement Friday.

“But before enacting these constitutional measures, we once again appeal to citizens that they are practicing social distancing protocols,” it warns.

The statement came after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed held a virtual meeting with members of the COVID-19 ministerial committee.

The committee has continually taken more measures including allowing for federal employees to work from home, granting pardon to thousands of inmates to reduce COVID-19 risks in prisons and closing schools and universities to prevent the spread of the virus.

On Friday, it has extended the school closure by another 15 days while urging retired medical professionals to be on standby.

“I call upon all retired and in-training medical professionals to prepare for national duty if the situation warrants such extra support,” the PM said in the statement.