Ethiopia PM warns citizens against attacking foreigners over Covid-19

Thursday March 19 2020

Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in Addis

Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in Addis Ababa on February 3, 2020. PHOTO | MICHAEL TEWELDE | AFP 

TESFA-ALEM TEKLE
By TESFA-ALEM TEKLE
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Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, on Thursday cautioned citizens against taking any form of attacks targeting foreigners in the wake of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

The premier's remarks came this afternoon after the US embassy in Addis Ababa, issued a statement Wednesday, alleging that Ethiopians in parts of the country are mistreating foreigners living in the country.

The US Embassy said that some Ethiopians have targeted Asians living in the country after the three Japanese were the first case to be reported in the continent's second most populace nation.

"We continue to receive reports regarding a rise in anti-foreigner sentiment revolving around the announcement of COVID-19 in Ethiopia," US embassy said.

Prime Minister Ahmed said "prevention efforts need not be a barrier to humanity and disposition for compassion as a global community"

He called on Ethiopians not to bend down for fears and panic, if nation is to attain the ongoing nation-wide efforts to quell the spread of the pandemic disease.

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"As a global community, we are each other’s keepers. Let us not let fear of the disease to rob us our humanity," said Ahmed.

He stressed that adhering to the Ministry of Health evidence based prevention and care guidelines is essential.

“As Covid-19 awareness efforts continue nationally, it is important to note that the virus is not related to any country or nationality. Everyone is equally at risk,” said Ahmed urging against any kind of mistreatment to foreigners.

Typical derogatory comments such as “China” and “ferengi” (local meaning White) have been "reportedly coupled with the label 'corona', indicating a disparaging view on the link between the outbreak of Covid-19 and foreigners in Ethiopia", it added.

The Embassy added that "Reports indicate that foreigners have been attacked with stones, denied transportation services, being spat on, chased on foot, and been accused of being infected with Covid-19"

Ethiopia has so far detected six cases of coronavirus—the first was that of a Japanese national who flew to Ethiopia from the West African state of Burkina Faso.

Ethiopia has so far reported six cases of Covid-19 virus. Two have so far died in Italy, in one of most affected nation.

On Thursday, Ethiopia said four, out of the six patients at home are recovering and have stopped to show signs and symptoms of the virus.

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