Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Thursday urged citizens to refrain from attacking foreigners as coronavirus cases rise in the country, reported Africa News.
The appeal was made after several reports of anti-foreigner sentiment in the country. It followed a United States Embassy statement that warned against increasing anti-foreigner sentiments in parts of the country.
In its security alert issued on Wednesday, the US embassy said it had received a number of reports indicating a rise in anti-foreigner sentiment revolving around COVID-19 in Ethiopia.
The US embassy said foreigners are being attacked with stones, denied transportation services, being spat on, chased on foot, and been accused of being infected with COVID-19.
Prime Minister Abiy said combating the coronavirus shouldn’t damage humanity.
“As Covid-19 awareness efforts continue nationally, it is important to note that the virus is not related to any country or nationality. Everyone is equally at risk,” said Abiy.
He said that it is important for all to adhere to the evidence-based Ministry of Health prevention and care guidelines.
“Prevention efforts need not be a barrier to our humanity and disposition for compassion,” the Ethiopian prime minister said. “As a global community, we are each other’s keepers. Let us not let fear rob us of our humanity.”
Ethiopia has reported a total of six confirmed coronavirus cases in the last six days. Three of the confirmed COVID-19 cases are Japanese nationals, two are Ethiopians, and one is a British diplomat. As a whole, Africa has reported over 800 coronavirus positive cases across the continent.
The Ethiopian Health authorities said they were testing more than 900 people for the virus as part of contact tracing efforts connected to confirmed cases.
The Ethiopian government has established a task force allocated an additional budget for the coronavirus prevention efforts. The country has designated isolation centers at three hospitals as well as set up alert management and surveillance systems as part of efforts to prevent the spread of Covid-19.