First case of COVID-19 confirmed in Ethiopia
March 13, 2020, The Federal Ministry of Health has confirmed a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) case in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The case, which was announced on the 13th of March 2020, is the first one to be reported in Ethiopia since the beginning of the outbreak in China in December 2019.
The case is a 48- year old Japanese man reported to have traveled from Japan to Burkina Faso and who then arrived in Ethiopia. He developed symptoms and presented at the health center in Addis Ababa from where the rapid response team (RRT) moved him to the isolation facility in Yeka Kotebe. He is currently clinically stable, with no serious symptoms.
The WHO Country Office Ethiopia (WCO) is following up closely to ensure an outbreak in Ethiopia is quickly controlled and contained. The COVID-19 Emergency Operations Centre housed at Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI) is working closely with the Ministry of Health and the WCO to respond to this case and implement firm control measures.
Dr. Boureima Hama Sambo, the World Health Organization (WHO) country representative “with the detection of this first case, it is of utmost importance for us to identify all the contacts of this case, and immediately test them. Only then can we stop the disease from spreading to the communities he visited”
To focus on containment in the narrowing window of available time, WHO, in collaboration with MOH/EPHI, immediately started working to identify the contacts of the patient, from the time he entered Ethiopia to the time of his diagnosis.
While there is still much to learn about COVID-19, people can take action to prevent the disease through simple, day-to-day measures. These include the following precautions:
1. Regularly and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water and use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
2. Maintain a physical distance of at least one meter, particularly if a person is coughing.
3. Persons with persistent cough or sneezing should stay home or keep a social distance, and not mix in crowds.
4. Make sure you are coughing into a tissue or a bent elbow, and make sure to safely dispose of the used tissue afterwards.
5. Stay home if you feel unwell with symptoms like fever, cough and difficulty in breathing. Please immediately call for medical help using the EPHI toll free number-8335- which is available day and night.
6. Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19 through official channels