April 8, 2020 / 10:05 AM / 3 months ago

Ethiopia declares state of emergency to curb spread of COVID-19

Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed waits for the arrival of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen before their meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia December 7, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Wednesday declared a state of emergency in the country to help curb the spread of the new coronavirus, his office said on Twitter.

“Considering the gravity of the #COVID19, the government of Ethiopia has enacted a State of Emergency,” Abiy’s office said.

Africa’s second most populous nation at more than 110 million, Ethiopia has recorded 52 cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and two deaths.

Authorities have already taken a series of measures to stem the spread including closing schools, banning public gatherings and requiring most employees to work from home.

The prime minister did not mention what additional steps would be taken under the state of emergency.

Reporting by Dawit Endeshaw; Writing by Elias Biryabarema; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Jason Neely

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