Ethiopia’s COVID-19 cases pass 20,000 amid rapid infection rate

August 2020 Xinhua; Ethiopia’s confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 20,336 after 459 new COVID-19 positive cases were confirmed on Wednesday, the Ethiopian Ministry of Health said.

The Ethiopian Ministry of Health in a statement issued on Wednesday revealed that from a total of 7,319 medical tests that were conducted within the last 24 hours, 459 of them tested positive for COVID-19, eventually bringing the total number of positive cases to 20,336.

The ministry also disclosed that some 13 additional patients succumbed to illnesses related to the COVID-19 pandemic on Wednesday, bringing the total number of COVID-19 related deaths in the East African country to 356.

Amid Ethiopia’s rapid COVID-19 infection rate in recent weeks, the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) on Wednesday revealed that Ethiopia is one of the six African countries that have reported about 80 percent of Africa’s total confirmed COVID-19 cases reported during the past week.

According to the Africa CDC’s latest weekly COVID-19 situation update issued on Wednesday, the East African country reported about four percent of Africa’s total confirmed COVID-19 cases during the past week.

The six African countries that have reported about 80 percent of the new COVID-19 cases since July 28 are South Africa with 59 percent, Morocco with 5 percent, as well as Algeria, Kenya, Ghana and Ethiopia which each reported four percent of the total cases reported last week, respectively, according to the Africa CDC.

According to the Ethiopian Ministry of Health, the number of recoveries is also increasing as some 8,598 patients who tested positive for COVID-19 had so far recovered, including 358 in the last 24 hours period.

The ministry also noted that a total of 11,380 COVID-19 patients are still undergoing medical treatment, out of which 185 are in severe condition.

Amid the rapid spread of the virus, the East African country had on Sunday officially launched a nationwide one-month-long testing campaign, which the Ethiopian government said “will determine the next steps to undertake in the new year,” which will start on September 11.

The Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed also said on Sunday that “increased testing is key to knowing the trend of COVID-19 nationally so as to enable effective decision-making on various fronts.”

Ethiopia, Africa’s second-most populous nation with about 107 million people, confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on March 13, and has so far conducted some 444,226 COVID-19 medical tests, according to the Ethiopian Ministry of Health.

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The U.S. government has donated a shipment of 250 state-of-the-art ventilators and other critical care equipment to assist Ethiopia with its response to COVID-19. The donation delivers on President Trump’s generous offer to Prime Minister Abiy of these critically needed supplies, in support of Ethiopia’s urgent and comprehensive response to the pandemic.

“Today, the United States reinforces its unwavering commitment to the Ethiopian people. This donation is a critical addition to the billions of dollars in resources and expertise that the American people have invested in Ethiopia’s health system in recent years. I am honored to join Minister Dr. Lia Tadesse to hand over this new equipment and to continue our work together, mitigating the impact of COVID-19 and helping Ethiopia save lives,” said U.S. Ambassador Michael Raynor at the handover event.

During the handover ceremony, the Ethiopian Minister of Health H.E. Dr. Lia Tadesse said, “On behalf of the government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, I would like to thank the United States government for the generous and much needed donation of critical care equipment. Ethiopia appreciates President Donald Trump’s generous contribution, and that of the American people to our citizens. The United States and Ethiopia share a long history of cooperation, and the support of the United States Government over the years has helped strengthen and enhance the Ethiopian health system.”

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