Ethiopia closes land border, deploys troops to combat coronavirus

March 24, 2020 (GMN) - Ethiopia closed its land borders and deployed security forces as it steps up measures to control the spread of the coronavirus, with 12 confirmed cases in the Horn of Africa nation.

The restrictions don’t apply to the movement of essential goods, the Office of the Prime Minister said in a statement

While government departments and political parties are still able to meet, some will implement work-from-home plans, according to the statement. It called on people to observe social distancing protocols.

“The National Defense Forces and police are to undertake internal preparations and preventive tasks nationally,” it said.

Curbs on public transport, including Addis Ababa’s rail network, have reduced the daily number of travelers by more than half to 50,000, the Ministry of Transport said.

The government has allocated 5 billion Birrs ($151 million) to fight the virus and is appealing to international developmental institutions and G-20 nations for support, the Ethiopian Broadcasting Corp. reported, citing Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

All passengers arriving in Ethiopia are subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine at government-designated centers at their own personal cost.