Update: Our Approach to the Coronavirus Outbreak

24 Mar 2020

As Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to change our lives in unprecedented ways, we wanted to give you further information on the actions we are now taking to keep all of our customers and employees safe, and the work we are doing to continue to provide essential services in these difficult times. We have therefore updated some of our policies, as follows:

  • We have adjusted our Consular opening hours: Until further notice, the Consular Section will be open on Tuesday and Thursday only, from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm (midday), and will only be providing essential services.
  • We have adjusted our operations across the rest of the Embassy: All other departmental staff, apart from key members of staff, will be working remotely until further notice. We will therefore no longer be offering appointments nor accepting drop-in visitors. Those who require services or information are advised to consult our website or to contact the relevant departments via the details below.

Going forward, we will continue to monitor the situation and adjust our operations in line with Government guidelines to ensure we are doing right by our customers, staff and the wider public. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us via our social feeds: @EthioEmbassyUK.

Finally, we would like to thank our dedicated staff for the work they have been doing to ensure the continuity of our services over the last few weeks, and our customers, for their continued patience and support during these challenging and uncertain times.

From all of us at the Ethiopian Embassy in London, stay safe, follow government guidance and take care of each other.

Embassy of Ethiopia, London

The Consular Section will be open on Tuesday and Thursday only, from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm (midday).

Effective immediately, the Consular Department will only provide essential services. For the foreseeable future, these essential services will be limited to the issuance of emergency travel documents (Laissez-passer) for Ethiopian nationals needing to travel urgently.

All other routine services, including visas, passports, ID cards, legalisation and power of attorney have been suspended until further notice.

As per the guidance issued by the Ethiopian and UK governments, customers are urged not to travel unless absolutely essential. If you must travel to Ethiopia, we recommend applying for your visa online at www.evisa.gov.et or on arrival at Bole International Airport. Once again, the Embassy will not issue routine visas to travellers until further notice.

For consular emergencies, please contact us on 020 7838 3898.

Due to the impact of the Coronavirus and Government guidance advice, most of our staff will be working remotely until further notice. Please note the below contact details for any urgent enquiries during this time:

General enquiries: info@ethioembassy.org.uk

Diaspora Affairs: 020 7838 3873 | 0203 846 6682 | 0207 838 3886

Press / Media: 020 7838 3883 | press@ethiopembassy.org.uk

Trade and Investment: 020 7838 3870 | business@ethioembassy.org.uk

Due to the high volume of calls and emails, it might take longer than usual for us to respond. For calls, please leave a message and one of our staff will get back to you as soon as possible. For emails, please allow at least 5 working days for routine enquiries.

On Friday, 13th February 2020, Ethiopia confirmed its first case of COVID-19. As of today, 24th March 2020, the total number of cases has risen to twelve. Daily updates are being provided by the Ministry of Health via social media.

The safety and wellbeing of our 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 round the clock to ramp up Ethiopia’s response.

Various measures have so far been introduced by the COVID-19 National Ministerial Committee to limit the spread of the virus. In addition to those issued on 16th March:

  • The Federal government has allocated a 5 Billion ETB emergency budget to undertake COVID-19 preparedness
  • All passengers arriving to Ethiopia will be subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine at designated hotels, at their own expense.
  • Ethiopian Airlines has temporarily suspended flights to 30 countries. Full list is available at: https://bit.ly/EthiopianAirlinesCOVID19.
  • The National Defense Forces are to halt all movements along the country’s land borders, with the exception of incoming freight transporting essential goods
  • Religious institutions and places of worship have been advised to cease public gatherings and to undertake worship via other means
  • Correctional facilities are to expand and utilise alternate holding spaces in order to avoid overcrowding. New prisoners will be subject to COVID-19 tests before being admitted. While visits have been temporarily suspended. Prisoners with minor offenses and release dates that are nearing will be released.
  • Volunteers must adhere to self-protection and prevention protocols while continuing to undertake voluntary tasks.
  • The first shipment of testing kits, mask and guidelines donated by Jack Ma through Alibaba, have arrived and are will be distributed within the country in the coming days and weeks.
  • Nightclubs and bars are to cease operations as part of containment and prevention measures.
  • Action will be taken against any individuals and/or businesses exploiting the current situation for profits (e.g., inflating prices on essential consumer goods)
  • With the support of Federal authorities, regional states are undertaking preparations to elevate their preparedness

As per the guidance, Ethiopian nationals are advised against all non-essential travel during this time. Similarly, British nationals have been advised the same by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). For the latest FCO travel advice, go to https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/ethiopia.

If you urgently need to travel to Ethiopia, we recommend applying for your visa online at www.evisa.gov.et or on arrival at Bole International Airport. The Embassy will no longer be issuing routine visas.

For the latest updates on the situation in Ethiopia, visit https://www.ephi.gov.et. You can also call the Ethiopian COVID-19 helplines on 8335 or 952 for advice or if you are experiencing symptoms while in Ethiopia.

The policy on this will continue to be reviewed regularly by the Ethiopian Government in response to changes in the global outbreak.

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

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