(FILES) On this file photograph all outlets are closed at a garments market as the federal government banned business actions at important markets to curb the unfold of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Djibouti, on March 27 ,2020. AFP
The UN’s Worldwide Group for Migration (IOM) estimates that to date in April “over 2,400 migrants” have been returned from Djibouti to Ethiopia, mentioned Yvonne Ndege, an IOM spokeswoman.
“But with the pandemic still unfolding this is a developing situation and the numbers are changing,” Ndege mentioned.
After being deposited on the border, the returnees are transported to quarantine services within the Ethiopian metropolis of Dire Dawa or within the northern Afar area, mentioned Zewdu Assefa from the Ethiopian Public Well being Institute.
A minimum of 4 of the returnees in Dire Dawa have examined constructive for COVID-19, Zewdu mentioned.
Ethiopian officers are frightened the illness may unfold additional, as it’s unclear whether or not Djibouti is doing any screening, Zewdu mentioned.
“There is a concern for sure and we are all trying our best to manage that,” he mentioned.
Ethiopians trying to migrate to Saudi Arabia seeking work usually journey by way of Djibouti, the place they board boats to cross the Pink Sea.
Djibouti’s ambassador to Ethiopia, Mohamed Idriss Farah, mentioned Friday that lots of the returnees have been stranded in Djibouti due to pandemic-related journey restrictions and wished to return to Ethiopia.
However Zewdu mentioned not less than a few of them have been most likely victims of “forced deporting”.
Djibouti, a strategically vital nation that hosts main US and French army bases, has reported almost 1,000 instances of COVID-19.
Its small inhabitants of round a million means it has the very best prevalence of the illness on the continent, in response to the Africa Centres for Illness Management and Prevention.
Ethiopia has reported simply 117 instances.
The 2 nations have performed roughly the identical variety of checks although Ethiopia’s inhabitants is 100 instances bigger.
Along with returnees from Djibouti, Ethiopia is struggling to accommodate hundreds of migrants being despatched again by airplane from Saudi Arabia.
The UN’s humanitarian coordinator for Ethiopia, Catherine Sozi, final week known as for the pause of such “large-scale deportations”, warning that they make the unfold of the coronavirus “much more likely to continue”.