Ethiopia has declared a state of emergency to halt the spread of COVID-19 in Africa’s second-most populous country, home to around 110m people.
“Because the coronavirus pandemic is getting worse, the Ethiopian government has decided to declare a state of emergency under Article 93 of the constitution,” prime minister Abiy Ahmed said in a statement.
“I call upon everybody to stand in line with government bodies and others that are trying to overcome this problem,” he added, warning of “grave legal measures” against anyone who undermines the fight against the pandemic.
Ethiopia today has 56 confirmed cases and two deaths.
Though the government had refrained from imposing a lockdown similar to other countries in the region, the prime minister had warned that the virus would spread easily among the population due to the lack of preventative health measures and the challenges associated with social distancing.