Ethiopia intensifies novel coronavirus preventive measures amid four suspected cases

ADDIS ABEBA: January 28 (EI) — The Ethiopian Ministry of Health (MoH) on Tuesday said that various preventive measures are underway in a bid to effectively control the entry and spread of the novel coronavirus in the country.

“Ethiopia has no coronavirus positive case so far, and we are stepping up the surveillance and testing facilities to ensure effective prevention of the coronavirus from entering into the country as well as on the provision of immediate healthcare response,” Ethiopia’s State Minister of Health, Liya Tadesse, told reporters on Tuesday.

According to the state minister, Ethiopia has intensified overall preparedness to prevent the entry and spread of the coronavirus to the country, in which “adequate preparations measures are in place, particularly at the Bole International Airport (Ethiopia’s main international hub) for thermal screening, preliminary surveillance, and testing of arrivals mainly from China and its neighboring countries.”

The Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI), which is presently leading and coordinating national coronavirus preparedness measures through a national technical working group, also on Tuesday disclosed that the national working group on the coronavirus meets several times a week to devise plans, monitor progress, develop guidelines and standard operating procedures, oversee logistics and strengthen surveillance at the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport.

The ministry, however, revealed that four Ethiopians, who were suspected of being infected by coronavirus upon arriving in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa from China’s Wuhan province, have been placed in quarantine “after they have experienced fever and symptom with a cough.”

Tadesse, however, confirmed that the samples collected from the four suspects have been tested negative for influenza-like disease.  The four Ethiopians were said to be studying in a university in Wuhan, China.

Noting that blood samples obtained from the four suspects were sent to South Africa for further testing, officials at the ministry and EPHI also said that “all the suspects are currently in good health.”

The four students were quarantined after a screening at the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, Ethiopia’s main international hub located in the capital Addis Ababa.

The East African country is presently undertaking screening of passengers arriving at the Bole International Airport in three shifts.

Earlier on Tuesday, the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) had stressed that it’s closely working with different parties, including the China CDC, against the novel coronavirus in Africa.

“There is no confirmed case of the novel coronavirus in Africa,” John Nkengasong, Africa CDC Director, confirmed during a press briefing on Tuesday at the AU headquarters in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

The Africa CDC Director also stressed that the 55-member pan African bloc, AU, through the Africa CDC, has activated an incident management system that envisaged the management of the outbreak in the African continent.

File photo (web) shows screening measures for novel coronavirus.

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