Ethiopia declares State of Emergency to curb transmission of Coronavirus

14 Apr 2020

Addis Ababa, 14 April 2020

In accordance with Article 93 of the Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, the Government declared a 5-month State of Emergency in an effort to limit the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Prime Minister announced the Government’s decision to declare a State of Emergency, describing it as one made in the interest of safeguarding current and future generations. Following its approval by the Council of Ministers, Proclamation 3/2020, also known as the “State of Emergency Proclamation Enacted to Counter and Control the Spread of COVID-19 and Mitigate Its Impact”, made its passage through the House of Peoples’ Representatives on Friday 10 April 2020. Furthermore, the House endorsed a seven-member State of Emergency inquiry board to scrutinise its implementation in accordance with the Constitution.

Following its accession into law, the Federal Attorney General, H.E Adanech Abebe, issued regulations to further define the measures associated with the State of Emergency including:

  • The banning of all public gatherings of more than four people. The ban will apply to all religious, governmental, non-governmental, commercial, political and social gatherings. Further, where the gathering is of a group of four people, individuals will be expected to ensure that they are 2 metres apart at all times.
  • However, the Proclamation does include provisions for funerals and other essential functions to take place based on exceptional approval on a case-by-case basis from the relevant authorities.
  • Greetings by handshake are banned.
  • All movements at land borders, except for the flow of cargo and essential goods, will be banned.
  • Transportation service-providers are to reduce passenger loads by 50% for all national and local journeys with immediate effect. Additionally, train services within Addis Ababa, as well as on the Addis Ababa – Djibouti route, are to operate passenger capacity at 25% on all journeys.
  • Landlords are henceforth banned from evicting or increasing rents on private tenants residing in their properties for the duration of the State of Emergency.
  • All commercial and private employers bound by the Labour proclamation will be prohibited from reducing their workforces or prematurely terminating employment contracts.
  • Students and teachers are banned from meeting and will only be permitted to connect online or by other means that do not contravene social distancing measures.
  • Although lawyers will still be able to confer with their clients in correctional facilities with the necessary precautions in place, going forward, all other visitations to these facilities will be prohibited.
  • Sporting activities at all levels are prohibited.
  • Children’s playgrounds and other such venues will be closed.

Any person failing to comply with these obligations will face up to three years imprisonment or a fine of between 1,000 and 200,000 Ethiopian Birr (£25.00 – £5,000.00).

It was also announced that the State of Emergency and the associated measures for its implementation can be revised at any point by the Council of Ministers based on the prevailing circumstances at the time.

—ENDS—

For further information, please contact the Press Office on 020 7838 3883 | press@ethioembassy.org.uk

For daily updates, follow the Embassy on social media: @EthioEmbassyUK

Background:

On Friday, 13th February 2020, Ethiopia confirmed its first case of COVID-19. At the time of publishing (14th April 2020), the total number of cases had risen to eighty-two (82), of which fourteen (14) have recovered, two have been transferred to their home countries and three have sadly died. Daily updates are being provided by the Ministry of Health via social media as well as the Ethiopian COVID-19 monitoring platform at www.covid19.et.

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