ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia has eased some of its restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the noble coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country.
The East African nation is currently under COVID-19 induced state of emergency, and its regulation imposes various restrictions as part of an effort to contain the virus that has so far killed over 70 Ethiopians.
The government announced it has made amendments to the state of emergency regulations on Friday that aims to make ease isolation and health facilities that are being used in the pandemic response.
Among other things, the amended regulation will help the Ministry of Health to roll out a volunteer home-based care for COVID-19 patients and ease the load in the country’s isolation facilities.
COVID-19 patients with no or no symptoms “will be asked to self-isolate at home, if they have the resources, the support (families), are willing and fulfill the criteria,” said Health Minister Dr. Lia Tadesse.
The Minister also said patients who do not meet self-isolation criteria will be isolated in non-clinical facilities such as University dormitories.
According to health officials, 90 percent of confirmed active coronavirus cases in Ethiopia have either mild or no symptoms of the disease. Dr. Lia said her office will make a detailed protocol for home-based care “available soon”.
Officials believe that such a move could save the health system which is under stress due to the rise of COVID-19 cases.
– 7-day Quarantine –
Authorities also amended the provision that makes a 14-day quarantine on people entering Ethiopia from abroad mandatory.
Peace Minister Muferiat Kamil said, citing the maturity period of the virus between 6 to 7 days, that the government decided to reduce the quarantine period from 14 to 7 days.
After a seven-day mandatory quarantine, passengers are expected to isolate themselves at their home but under health experts’ supervision stays.
The 7 days mandatory quarantine remains to be applied to all returnees including those who are coming via borders, said Muferiat, who is also Coordinator of COVID-19 National Ministerial Committee.
The recent rise in the number of returnees especially from the middle east has crowded isolation facilities whose capacity is almost full, according to reports.
– Status certificate –
Under the revised restriction, people who came from abroad need to have a certificate that testifies their COVID-19 status.
“All travelers arriving at Bole International airport who can bring a certificate of negative PCR SAR-CoV test done up to 72 hours before arrival to Ethiopia, will be required mandatory 14-day self-quarantine at home after giving sample upon arrival,” Dr. Lia stated.
Under the revised regulation, families of a COVID-19 victim can also arrange funerals, but the number of attendants remains to be limited to 50.
Dr. Lia said, for all deaths registered at home or health facilities, funeral and burial could be arranged at the preferred burial ground of their families.
“Once sample collection is completed there will be no requirement to wait for results,” she said,
“But precautions in the preparation of the body will be the same for all deaths”.
To date, Ethiopia has confirmed 4, 532 coronavirus infections including 74 deaths.
Featured Image: Health Minister Dr. Lia speaking at press conference. [Photo File]