Thursday, April 23, 2020

Illegal Entry from Djibouti Poses a Threat on Ethiopia’s COVID 19 Prevention
Illegal entry from Djibouti reportedly complicating Ethiopia’s COVID 19 prevention strategy in the eastern parts of the country

April 21, 2020

As Djibouti’s confirmed case of COVID 19 surpasses well over 900, illegal entry to Ethiopia from the Horn of African country has become a concern for Ethiopian authorities.

Illegal entry at this time means those who do it are bypassing required arrangements medical examination and two weeks quarantine before they are guaranteed free movement if their results show negative for COVID 19 test.

The development has made Ethiopia’s policy and strategy on COVID 19, which emphasizes prevention, a complicated undertaking. It has become more challenging in Afar, Somali, and Dire Dawa regions of Ethiopia.

How is the government responding to it?

A report by state-affiliated media Fana Broadcasting Corporate (FBC) cited Lemlem Bezabih, Head of Dire Dawa city Health Office, as saying that the office is working with community members to tackle the challenge.

Several COVID 19 cases are confirmed from Dire Dawa. Lemlem said that her office is tracing those individuals who had contact with the infected person, as part of the prevention work. However, she did not hide that the entry from Djibouti that bypassed the arrangements in place is thwarting the prevention work.

According to the FBC report, Dire Dawa city administration and security office, which is involved in the COVID 19 prevention work, said that there are limitations in terms of controlling illegal entry to Ethiopia from Djibouti. The office is striving to coordinate with Somali regional state officials, Musa Teha, head of the city’s administration, and security said.

Somali region administration has confirmed that it is working with Dire Dawa authorities. It is also working with federal authorities.  The region’s acting president, Mustafa Mohammed, reportedly said that his administration is making arrangements to create isolation centers at the border with Somalia and Djibouti. Some of the challenges in the region require support from the Federal government, and work is in progress, he added.

In a similar development, the Afar regional state is seeking the support of stakeholders in the adjacent regions. Ethiopian News Agency (ENA) cited Awol Arba, head of the region’s administration, as saying that the region is undertaking regulatory works in Elidar, Afambo, and Galafi districts. 

The Ethiopian government has declared a state of emergency over the Coronavirus pandemic situation in the country, and the Federal law takes precedence, as stipulated in the state of emergency regulations.

Ethiopia has closed land borders with six neighboring countries weeks before even declaring a state of emergency. 

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