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Coronavirus in Ethiopia: Is the worst yet to come?

New Africa

Ethiopia reported its first Covid-19 coronavirus case on 13 March. The infected individual was later identified as a Japanese citizen. Ten days later the Ethiopian government announced the closure of the country’s land borders. By 8 April, the government declared a five-month State of Emergency (SOE) to help limit the spread of the virus.

Despite such dramatic actions – or perhaps partly because of them – so far, like most of the rest of Africa, Ethiopia is faring reasonably well, all things considered.

Of the 352 confirmed Covid-19 cases in Ethiopia – as at 19 May – there have been 116 recoveries and five deaths. The positive-test rate remains below 1% – an enviable statistic compared to many countries: in the US at the start of April that rate reached 21% – and there are no reports of surges.

But it is estimated that the country’s number of Covid-19 cases will likely peak in June or July, leaving plenty of time for the situation to change dramatically.

Ethiopia has just one doctor for every 10,000 people, according to the World Bank – half the ratio for neighbouring Kenya, four times less than that for Nigeria and nine times less than that for South Africa. Read more

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