Mar 17, 2020

Coronavirus: More Cases reported in Ethiopia

More cases of people infected with the COVID-19 Coronavirus have been reported in Ethopia. Among them include two Japanese citizens and one Ethiopian, according to the Ethiopian Ministry of Health. The new cases are reported to have been in contact with the first Japanese citizens and were confirmed on last Friday in the capital Addis Ababa. The Ministry also reported that another 117 people who were believed to have been in contact with the first victim have also been quarantined.

Below is from an article by Ezega News

In contrast to other parts of the world, the number of cases in Ethiopia is relatively low. However, the Health Ministry seeks to keep the numbers low “by having the public take appropriate measures, including washing hands frequently and avoiding contact with a large group of people.”

It has been reported that the infected Japanese citizen travelled to the Oromia region of Ethiopia, “where he had a series of discussions with officials of the region’s education bureau.” Following this, the head of the Oromia Education Bureau Dr Tolla Berisso reportedly put himself into self-isolation after learning the Japanese person was infected. A US citizen also tested positive for the virus after staying in Ethiopia for around a week and holding discussions with military generals of the Ethiopian Army.

Worldwide more than 7100 people have died from the virus so far, according to the online Coronavirus Resource Center of Johns Hopkins University, while nearly 80,000 have recovered.

The Ethiopian Council of Ministers recently approved a bill to introduce four new working languages along with Amharic, until recently the only working language in the country. The languages, namely Afan Oromo (the most widely spoken language in Ethiopia), Afar, Somali, and Tigrigna are to be adopted as official languages, reflecting the linguistic diversity of Ethiopian society. The reform was introduced by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

Speakers of Afan Oromo account for 34.4% of the Ethiopian population, according to the latest census. Both Somali and Tigrigna speakers account for 6% each, while Afar speakers are just 1.7%. In contrast, Sidama and Wolayita, both still unofficial languages, have twice as many speakers as Afar.

Amharic has been the main language of government in Ethiopia since the time of Emperor Haile Selassie, who introduced the “Unity Law”, which made Amharic the only working language of the country.