Our Approach to the Coronavirus Outbreak

17 Mar 2020

Amid the developing Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, we wanted to take the time to keep you informed of the measures we are putting in place as a responsible employer and service provider.

With issues of health and safety rightly at the forefront of everyone’s mind, the wellbeing of our customers, guests, employees, and their families, is the Embassy’s number one priority.

The points below set out our approach around the spread of COVID-19.

At its foundation our approach adheres to the existing public health guidance which entails:

  • Carefully monitoring the UK Government’s risk level assessment
  • Continuous re-enforcement of Public Health England and World Health Organisation precautions to our staff to help prevent spreading of the virus, including regular handwashing and the regular cleaning of high contact areas within the Embassy (toilets, surfaces, and door handles, etc.)
  • Asking customers and guests to follow government guidelines and to wash their hands following entry into the Embassy and prior to engaging with our staff members
  • Requiring employees who are exhibiting symptoms associated with Coronavirus to follow government guidelines, notify relevant individuals internally and self-isolate.

In the interest of public health, we also urge any customers planning to visit the Embassy, who are feeling under the weather or have recently returned from an affected country to postpone their visit for a minimum of 14 days.

Please also note that, henceforth, the rest of the Embassy will be closed to drop-in visitors without a prior appointment.


Consular Opening Hours

Effective immediately, the Embassy’s consular section will be limiting operational hours for document collection and submission and will only be open from Monday to Friday between 10.00 am – 12.00 pm (midday).

Those wishing to apply for visas are advised to do so online at https://www.evisa.gov.et or on arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport. We are also accepting postal applications for most services, apart from new passports.

For emergencies, please contact us on 0207 589 7212 or by email on consular@ethioembassy.org.uk.

Further guidance on how the Coronavirus outbreak will impact our Consular operations will follow in due course.


During these trying circumstances, we will continue to closely monitor the situation and follow the direction given by the Government and will make the necessary changes to ensure continuity of service and the protection of our customers, guests, employees, and their families, in case of the further spread of COVID-19.


Everyone should do what they can to stop Coronavirus spreading.


  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • always wash your hands when you get home or into work
  • use hand sanitiser gel, if soap and water are not available
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
  • avoid close contact with people who have symptoms of coronavirus
  • avoid events with large groups of people


  • do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

For up to date information and guidance, please visit the NHS website at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus.


On Friday, 13th February 2020, Ethiopia confirmed its first case of COVID-19. As of today, 17th March 2020, the total number of cases has risen to five, with those who have had close contact with the confirmed cases under isolation for 14 days.

The safety and wellbeing of citizens, as well as travellers to Ethiopia, is the Government’s top priority. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the Government, the Ministry of Health, the Ethiopian Public Health Institute, the emergency services, and other partner institutions have been working around the clock to ramp up Ethiopia’s preparedness to detect, contain and mitigate its impact if transmission occurs.

In line with this, the following measures are being undertaken over the next two weeks:

  • Large gatherings, including sporting events and meetings, are postponed. Small gatherings will not be undertaken without consulting the Ministry of Health.
  • With the exception of higher learning institutions, all schools are closed. However, the Ministry of Science and Higher Education is planning to deliver course content online for university students.
  • Religious institutions and places of worship are required to limit gatherings.
  • A national hygiene and preventative measures movement launched and cascaded throughout government institutions, with uptake in non-governmental institutions and the public, is now being implemented.
  • The Government has allocated an emergency budget for the distribution of masks, soap, alcohol solutions and other preventative materials in critical locations.
  • Government buses will be availed free of charge to the public to limit overcrowding in the public transport system. Private transporters are also asked to follow suit.
  • The Ministry of Trade and Industry is monitoring and acting against businesses unnecessarily increasing prices on consumer goods.
  • Preventative measures are to be undertaken in elderly care facilities with close monitoring by the Ministry of Health. Visits to such facilities are to be limited.
  • Volunteers are asked to support in raising prevention awareness.
  • Media institutions are being urged to deliver accurate information to the public.

Additional measures have also been put in place at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (and other international ports of arrival) for health screening of passengers, including temperature measurements, the collection of contact-tracing information and passport checks for recent travel to affected areas. People arriving from countries with significant numbers of infections may be asked to limit their movements or self-isolate.

For the latest updates on the situation in Ethiopia, visit https://www.ephi.gov.et. The policy on this will continue to be reviewed regularly by the Ethiopian Government in response to changes in the global outbreak.

We strongly advise those from the UK who have plans to travel to Ethiopia to follow the guidance provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, which is updated regularly at https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/ethiopia. The latest guidance advises British nationals against all non-essential travel worldwide for 30 days. See https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus for further information.

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