COVID-19: Ethiopia Bans Gatherings of More than Four People

ADDIS ABEBA – Gatherings of more than four people in public are not allowed, Ethiopia’s federal attorney general office announced, as it unveils the rules of the state of emergency declared as part of government’s coronavirus (COVID-19) response.

Ethiopia confirmed its first case on 12 March. It has since closed all land borders, ordered most government employees to work from home and released thousands of prisoners as part of measures to curb the spread of the virus.

However, with the infection cases increasing every day, the government has put more strict measures to be used in the fight against the virus.

Attorney General Adanech Abiebie issued a directive that details the rule for the five-month-long state of emergency which was approved by the lawmakers on Friday.

The directive comprises of four main sections detailing prohibitions, obligations, and the functions of executive bodies.

Under the new restrictions, any form of gatherings including religious or political meeting should not be more than four persons.

If four people get together, the rules say they should keep a safe distance of two meters from each other. It, however, entertains social issues such as funeral services as special circumstances.

The new rules have also modified the blanket ban on visits to correctional facilities.

Accordingly, lawyers can meet their clients in prison but any other kinds of visits to the facilities will continue to be banned.

The new rule also keeps previous orders to prohibit all forms of activities at the border except cargo and freight transport services.

It also prohibits forceful eviction of tenants, increasing house rents, laying off workers and termination of employment during the state of emergency period.

The other rules of the decree including the banning of sporting events, playground gatherings, shaking hands and the use of public transport vehicles from carrying more than 50% of their capacity.

Ethiopia currently has 71 confirmed cases of coronavirus, and recorded three deaths.


Image: Attorney General Adanech Abiebie [Photo AJ Office]