Ethiopia intensifies coronavirus screening across all int'l airports, border crossings-Xinhua

Ethiopia intensifies coronavirus screening across all int'l airports, border crossings

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2020-03-12 23:54:10

ADDIS ABABA, March 12 (Xinhua) -- The Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI) on Thursday disclosed that it has intensified the screening of travelers entering the country via all international airports and other 30 border crossings as part of national efforts to contain a potential COVID-19 outbreak in Ethiopia.

The statement was made by Ebba Abate, Director-General of the Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI), who told journalists that the East African country is enhancing national preparedness initiatives to contain possible coronavirus outbreak in the country, with particular emphasis on boosting national response coordination as well as thermal screening of travelers entering the country across international airports as well as other 30 entrances.

Noting that ongoing coronavirus preparedness efforts are well underway in collaboration with international and continental partners, mainly the World Health Organization (WHO) and the African Union (AU) Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Abate also stressed that the institute has so far trained 366 public health professionals, as well as some 2,500 employees of Ethiopian Airlines, industrial parks, hotels and other companies to effectively contain any possible COVID-19 cases.

Figures from the Ethiopian Public Health Institute also show that more than 521,000 international passengers have been screened for possible COVID-19 infection so far, in which some 7,100 of the travelers were said to be entering into the East African country from countries affected by the coronavirus.

The EPHI director general also disclosed that there is no confirmed positive COVID-19 case so far in the country.

On Monday, the Ethiopian national ministerial committee, which was formed last week to closely monitor ongoing efforts to contain a potential COVID-19 outbreak in the country, has briefed the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed concerning the ongoing efforts that are undertaken nationwide on COVID-19 preparedness.

According to the national ministerial committee, as part of the ongoing efforts the Ethiopian Ministry of Health, in collaboration with other relevant institutions, has already set up a 24-hour emergency center to work on COVID-19 preparedness, while the screening of travelers entering the country through land and air is also underway.

The East African country, which used to test suspected COVID-19 cases abroad until recently, is also undertaking in-country COVID-19 testing since February 18 after acquiring the required testing equipment," the Ethiopian Prime Minister's Office (PMO) disclosed in a statement on Monday.

The national ministerial committee on COVID-19 preparedness also disclosed the establishment of quarantine centers, as well as a dedicated hospital to take care of suspected coronavirus cases and positive confirmations with capacity to attend to 600 patients.

Amid the ongoing initiatives to effectively respond to a potential COVID-19 outbreak in the country, the Ethiopian government has also disclosed the development of other medical institutions as backup centers, as well as the collection of required input materials for prevention and response, including face masks, it was noted.

Ethiopia, Africa's second populous nation with a population of 107 million, has also operationalized a toll-free hotline telephone service available to the public for alerts of suspected cases and information regarding the coronavirus.


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