By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
Addis Ababa — As the pace of new infections from coronavirus relatively drop in Ethiopia, the horn of Africa’s country is lately reporting more patient recoveries.
According to Ethiopia’s Ministry of Health, the country on Friday has discharged an additional seven newly cured Covid-19 patients from hospitals raising the number of total recoveries so far to 66.
Currently, Ethiopia has 67 patients at the Covid-19 treatment centres in different parts of the country.
The drop in the number of new virus cases comes as the country further reinforced measures including imposing tighter controls at its common border with Djibouti to arrest importation of the Covid-19 following the unusual spike in the number of illegal entry to Ethiopia from the tiny Red Sea nation.
In its daily update on new infections, Ministry of Health said two more people had tested positive for coronavirus, after country conducted 912 samples over the past 24 hours.
The two confirmed new cases has brought Ethiopia’s total tally to 133.
According to the ministry, the two new cases were reported from Moyale and Jigjiga towns and both patients have travel history to Kenya and Puntland and they were in a mandatory quarantine centres at Moyale and Jigjiga respectively.
Since Ethiopia first reported its first Covid-19 case on March 13, the country first recorded zero new cases of the virus on April 2, however, the drop in the number of new Covid-19 cases started to rise since April 23 when the country recorded its second zero-cases over tests conducted within 24-hour period then.
Between April 24-30, Ethiopia recorded only 15 cases in total, relatively low compared to its own but also compared to neighbouring countries which had seen a surge in the number of new coronavirus cases.
Ethiopia has so far conducted tests to a total of 18,754 samples
Deaths recorded still stands at three while there is no patient in Intensive Care Unit, ICU.
Although the country has seen a slow in the pace of new infections, however health officials continue to warn the public from paying little attention to existing precautionary measures.
The Ethiopian Ministry of Health in a statement last week said that the zero positive results “do not indicate the decline of COVID-19 in Ethiopia but it showed the tested individuals were not infected with the virus”
On April 17, when Ethiopia’s Covid-19 cases approach 100, the Chinese government dispatched an anti-pandemic medical expert’s team to Ethiopia to assist the Africa’s nation in its efforts to fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ethiopia’s health minister, Lia Tadesse, then said that the twelve-member Chinese medical team, drawn from various anti-pandemic medical experts, would play a critical role and expected to boost country’s Covid-19 prevention efforts to contain the spread of the deadly virus.
The Chinese anti-pandemic medical experts were a highly trained experts and professionals who have been active in COVID-19 response in China and with frontline experience in containing the pandemic in China.
During their 15-days stay in Ethiopia, the Doctors have shared best
Covid-19 prevention and control practices; provide guidance and technical advice on epidemic prevention to hospitals and to Ethiopian health professionals.
It is not yet clear if the Chinese shared experience has helped Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populace nation of over 100 million, to slow the spread of the virus.
Slowing the spread of the Virus in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, seems to be working at this point without taking sever measures such as entire lockdown.
Unlike other African countries, for Ethiopian officials, a lockdown in the capital, Addis Ababa, is not a reasonable choice.
Country’s officials have long ruled out calls from opposition groups and concerned bodies to impose lockdown in the capital, home to an estimated 7 million people.
Meanwhile the National Covid-19 Ministerial Committee has met today to evaluate major activities undertaken to stem spread of virus.
“Since its establishment the Covid-19 Ministerial Committee has been undertaking productive tasks with fruitful outcomes” said Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed on his Face book page following today’s meeting.
“Today we met again to review key activities and measures undertaken which show good progress. Many lessons learnt in this period that needs to be institutionalized”
“By building on milestones achieved in logistics and ICT innovations as of late, these strengthened capacities will serve our growth better post-Covid-19” he added.
To support Ethiopia’s battle against the global Pandemic, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has also approved $411 million to help Ethiopia.
The IMF said Friday that it continues to monitor Ethiopia’s situation closely and stands ready to provide policy advice and financial support as needed.
The financial support aim to meet Ethiopia’s urgent balance of payment needed to contain Covid-19 pandemic.
Tao Zhang, Deputy Managing Director and Chair, said “Ethiopia showed good progress under the extended arrangements with the Fund, which aim to address external vulnerabilities and transition to a private sector-led growth model.
“The authorities remain committed to the reform program. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant adverse impact on the economy and created urgent fiscal and balance of payments needs”
According to Zhang, Ethiopian authorities have moved decisively to contain the spread of the virus and manage the economic fallout from the global downturn and the needed health-related measures.
“The National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) has appropriately provided liquidity to banks to maintain financial stability. Once the crisis abates, monetary policy will need to be tightened significantly to achieve the single-digit inflation objective. Strong efforts are needed to address the real overvaluation of the exchange rate, allowing the exchange rate to act as a shock absorber.”
“Fund emergency support under the Rapid Financing Instrument and debt relief under the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust would help address balance of payments pressures and create fiscal space for essential pandemic-related expenditures. Participation in the G20 debt relief initiative could provide additional resources to respond to the pandemic” he added.