ADDIS ABEBA – Gambella region – the only state that has not reported COVID-19 case in Ethiopia so far – has installed coronavirus testing center on Wednesday.
Officials of the region say it has a capacity of testing 180 individuals per day. Previously, laboratory tests were sent to Addis Ababa to know the results of suspected cases.
Since the first virus case reported in Ethiopia, the region has been engaging in prevention works, said Gatluak Tut Khoton, president of Gambela regional state.
It has now installed the center as the region needs to conducts tests at refugee camps located here, he added.
Hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese refugees reside in the region following the escalation of conflict in the world’s youngest nation in July 2016.
Many still are coming despite the government’s order to close Ethiopia’s border with its neighbors.
“This is really concerning,” said the region’s police commission, Epiyang O’chan, stating refugees are still crossing the border.
South Sudan has over 806 COVID-19 cases including eight deaths, as of Wednesday. The main checkpoint has been closed but the region has the longest border with South Sudan.
People are coming into the region from different entry points, the police commissioner told ENA. The commissioner has called for strengthening border control.
The region is also in talks with NGOs working in refugee camps to look into a possible import case of the virus, head of the regional health bureau, said Kan Gatluwak, head of the region’s health bureau.
To date, the Gambella region has no reported case of COVID-19.