March 25, 2020: Eritrea cases up to four, commercial flights banned
1. Three passengers who arrived in Asmara from Dubai with flight Air Arebi on Saturday 23 March at 5:00 a.m. LT, were diagnosed positive for COVID-19, today. All three passengers are Eritrean nationals resident in the country.
This puts the total number of infected individuals, to-date, to four. The passengers who were on the same flight with the patients and all those who came in physical contact with them have been quarantined.
All the patients are receiving necessary treatment at Villagio Hospital (Asmara) and remain in satisfactory condition.
2. In this connection, commercial passenger flights to and from Eritrea will not be allowed from midnight today, (25 March 2020). The ban will remain effective for two weeks until further review.
3. The Ministry of Health will continue to monitor developments and trends regarding COVID-19 and issue, as necessary, further information and guidelines.
March 23, 2020: Eritrea issues stricter guidelines
Eritrea’s Ministry of Health has issued its third in a series of coronavirus related Public Guidelines. The rules come in the wake of the index case of the pandemic in the county.
“… an Eritrean national resident in Norway who flew to Asmara last Saturday, March 21st, was confirmed positive for COVID-19. The patient is receiving all necessary treatment while passengers who travelled on the same Airline were subsequently quarantined,” a statement from the Ministry of information said.
The Ministry urged the entire populace to “take utmost precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the pandemic and to strictly implement Government guidelines for the safety of their own lives and the country.”
The additional guidelines include:
1. Every person should avoid non-essential movement within the city or village of residence as well as travel to other places inside the country. Every person should likewise avoid travel by bus, mini-bus and taxis unless in emergencies.
2. All public gatherings, sport and cultural events that assemble a crowd of more than 10 people are prohibited. Cinemas and night-clubs will remain closed until further notice. Social distancing must be heeded to in other commercial units and centers.
3. Aggregation of more than 10 people at social events (funerals, weddings, mourning, baptism and other gatherings) is banned.
4. Every citizen must observe, and same instruction is being given by religious leaders to the faithful, prayers and associated religious sermons in their homes.
5. All Eritrean nationals living abroad are urged to take all necessary precautionary measures for their own safety, the safety of their families as well as the Eritrean communities. They should also refrain from travelling to Eritrea.
6. Stringent legal measures will be taken on all individuals and commercial enterprises that engage in hoarding and speculative price hikes by misconstruing the precautionary measures that are being taken to safeguard the safety of the Eritrean people and the country.
7. The Ministry of Health will continue to monitor developments regarding COVID-19 and issue additional information and guidelines as necessary.
March 21, 2020: Eritrea records index case (Statement)
A 39-year old Eritrean national who has permanent residence in Norway arrived at Asmara International Airport at 7:00 a.m. today, March 21st, from Norway with Fly Dubai.
The patient exhibited symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19) at the screening process in the airport. He was quarantined promptly and diagnosed positive for COVID-19 after subsequent tests at the National Health laboratory. The patient is receiving all necessary treatment.
March 18, 2020: Eritrea national exams underway
Eritrea like most countries across the continent is taking precautions in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The country is however going on with academic activity relative to the National School Leaving Examination 2019/2020 which started on Wednesday 18 March across the country.
A statement from the Ministry of Education quoted Dr. Bisrat Gebru, Director of the National Testing Center, as confirming that “the examination will continue until the 23rd of this month, and will include 13 fields of studies.
“Dr. Bisrat also indicated that a total of 14,960 students including 7,149 females are sitting in the examination that is being conducted in 8 testing stations.”
The director further disclose that the parallel examination that was given in the International Eritrean Community Schools in Jeddah and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, has been halted due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Eritrea, South Sudan, Burundi and Uganda are the few countries in the East Africa / Horn of Africa region to have managed to keep out the COVID-19 pandemic so far.
March 17, 2020: Coronavirus-free Eritrea bans all internal, external travel
Eritrea’s Ministry of Health also issued additional guidelines to all nationals & expatriates residing in the country. They have not recorded any case yet even though neighbours Sudan, Somalia and Eritrea have one, one and six cases respectively – as at March 18. The Sudan case has resulted in death.
The guidelines basically bans all travels within and outside of the country.
1. Every person should refrain from internal & foreign travel unless this is for extremely urgent & unavoidable purposes;
2. Every person must avoid, in as much as this is possible, public gatherings;
3. Foreign travel from & to Eritrea has diminished significantly on the basis of the MoH guidelines issued last week. This will be bolstered further henceforth to fully restrict travel from, and to, Eritrea except in urgent & unavoidable circumstances
March 12, 2020: Eritrea’s coronavirus rules: Chinese, Italians, Iranians to be quarantined
Eritrea’s Health Ministry has issued guidelines relative to the recent coronavirus outbreak. The March 11 statement addresses local and international audiences in the areas of education and of entry into the Horn of Africa.
The statement says persons originating from or with recent travel history to four virus-impacted countries will be quarantined. The countries are China, Italy, South Korea and Iran.
Even though the government through the ministry has announced a quarantine, according to the Africa Disease Control Center based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Eritrea was among a handful African countries that do not have the capacity to test for the virus.
Eritrea is not the only country resorting to quarantining persons from or connected to particular countries. The Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC; announced similar measure for Germans, Italians, French and Chinese. Uganda has also announced quarantine for persons from 16 high-risk nations.
The Ministry confirmed that there was no case recorded in the country so far adding that since the country was “linked by land, air, and sea with several countries affected by the disease…. (it was) urgent and imperative for Eritrea to take precautionary measures to prevent the outbreak and spread of the disease as well as to prepare for all possible scenarios.
The closest neighbour of Eritrea to have recorded a case is Egypt, the first African country to record a case and a death. It currently has Africa’s highest infection rate with over 50 confirmed cases.
In view of these facts, the Ministry of Health issues the following guidelines:
1. Continuous sensitization campaigns will be disseminated through the various local media outlets in order to provide timely and full information to the general public. These announcements must be followed with due diligence.
2. In view of the potential gravity of the situation and for the sake of their own safety as well as the safety of the Eritrean people, the Ministry of Health urges all nationals and foreigners who may have plans to travel to, and from Eritrea, to postpone their plans on their own volition.
3. The Ministry of Health will continue to monitor developments earnestly to assess occurrence, rate and extent of contagion, and other vital parameters and symptoms of the epidemic. It will accordingly issue appropriate announcements and guidelines.
4. Visitors who originate directly from, or who have transited through, China, Italy, South Korea and Iran will be quarantined.