Mar 12 , 2020

The Ministry of Finance approved a special budget of 300 million Br this week for the prevention of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). | © EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Ethiopia has earmarked this week a special budget of 300 million Br fo prepare itself in the likelihood Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) surfaces. The fund will be allocated to pay for the mobilization of human resources, screening and training, procure supplies and equipment for medical centres, and for the design of communications strategies to raise public awareness. 

The Ministry of Health, which will use the budget to organise rapid response measures, has pleaded with the World Bank to provide 121 million dollars to prepare for the Coronavirus. 

The World Bank has disclosed last week a financial package of 12 billion dollars of support for countries responding to COVID-19. The financing will be drawn from the International Finance Corporation, the International Bank for Reconstruction & Development and the International Development Association. 

Following her appointment as Minister of Health, Lia Tadesse (MD) made a presentation to members of parliament on the Ministry's current efforts to combat the spread of the virus and its toll on human life. The World Health Organization (WHO), under the directorship of Teodros Adhanom (PhD), has declared this week COVID-19 to be a pandemic. The Director-General has called on countries to take critical and aggressive actions in hopes of changing the trajectory of the virus's rapid spread.

So far, Ethiopia has not reported any cases of COVID-19. Along with Bole International Airport, the  Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI) is carrying out screenings at 30 border stations along with the Dire Dawa International Airport and Dewele border crossing. As of yesterday, 7,024 passengers travelled from China, Iran, Italy and South Korea have been screened at Bole International Airport. Close to 922 people have been selected for follow-up observation, while 1,134 people have completed it but without showing symptoms, according to health authorities.

In the event of an outbreak, the government has established national emergency centres at Ethiopian Airlines, Tikur Anbessa, St. Paul and Yeka Kotebe hospitals where people showing the symptom can be kept in isolation.

PUBLISHED ON Mar 12,2020 [ VOL 20 , NO 1037]

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