By Dagnachew Tesfaye
The Ethiopian Public Health Institute has issued Directive No 30/2020( hereafter the Directive) . The Directive is effective from October 5/2020. The power to issue the Directive emanates from Article 72 (2) of the Food and Medicine Administration Proclamation No. 1112/2019, Article 55(3) of the Food, Medicine, and Healthcare Administration and Control Proclamation No. 661/2009, and Article 98 of the Council of Ministers Regulation on Food, Medicine, and Healthcare Administration and Control No. 299/2013.
The scope of application of the Directive is on all over Ethiopia. The aim of the Directive is to prevent and control of Covid-19 pandemic. The Directive is divided into ten parts.
Part one of the Directive deals with definitions and scope of the Directive.
Part two of the directive put detailed prohibited activities and duties imposed. It is prohibited for any person who knows he infected with COVID-19 to enter the country, mix with the general public or meet with people in any situation that may allow the virus to spread. It is prohibited for any person to shake hands with another as a greeting or for any other purpose. It is prohibited to make deliberate physical contact with each other. It is not allowed for employees of any public or private organization to provide service without maintaining a distance of two adult strides and without wearing masks. It is prohibited to provide service to individuals who are not maintaining a distance of two adult strides and not wearing masks three patrons at a single table. And it is illegal to stand or sit without maintaining a distance of two adult strides in market places, transport depots, places where public services are provided or any other public space where a large number of people are found;
Until it is decided wearing a mask is no longer necessary, it is prohibited for any person to be found without a mask anywhere outside his residence or move from one place to another. Nevertheless, this provision is not applicable to minors who are under 6 years of age or individuals having the respiratory or other related medical case that can be proven by evidence. It is not allowed for any business organization to provide service to any person who is not covering his mouth and nose with a mask.
It is prohibited for any public or private school or for any public or private college or university to provide education until it is decided it is possible to conduct classes face-to-face or without respecting the directives that shall be enacted regarding precautionary measures in methods of education delivery or the general teaching and learning work or other detailed standards of education delivery;
It is prohibited for any daycare center to provide service until it is decided it is allowed to provide service without respecting the directives that shall be enacted on the manner of providing the service taking cautionary measures.
The duties imposed are divided into four specific areas. These are in employee protection, customer protection, sector specific and duties on individuals.
Employee related duties imposed include any public and private organizations, or organizations in the industry and production sector or any other sector have a duty to use various mediums to make information regarding the disease accessible to their employees. Employers are duty bound to provide materials useful to prevent the disease at their gates and other necessary places. Employer should rearrange working places to allow sufficient air circulation. Employer should provide precautionary materials useful to prevent the spread of the disease, ensure employees wear masks.
Customer related duties include any public or private service provider shall provide sanitary materials useful for preventing the spread of the virus, mark spots where customers could stand maintaining a two adult stride distance, ensure that customers are wearing masks and taking the necessary precautionary measures;
For the transport,construction and any hotel, tour operator and other organizations in the tourism sectors, the duties imposed are as follows. Any cross country or inter-city transport service providers have a duty to carry passengers in accordance with the law setting the maximum carrying capacity, deny service to individuals who are not wearing masks; open windows to allow sufficient air circulation in the vehicle and provide service by implementing other necessary precautionary measures provided in directives enacted by the sector.
Construction project employers have a duty to provide the necessary sanitary materials such as water, soap, mask, sanitizer or alcohol, thermometer and anti-viral materials on the construction sites. The employer must ensure the employees work maintaining their distance to the extent possible. The employer should respect and make sure others respect precautionary measures provided in directives enacted by the sector to prevent proneness to the COVID-19 pandemic in the construction sector.
Any hotel, tour operator and others organizations in the tourism sector have a duty to make sure there is a distance of two adult strides between their employees and customers. The organization should ensure they are wearing masks, prepare materials necessary to prevent the disease. The enterprise must provide their employees with precautionary materials useful to prevent the spread of the disease. And provide tourism services by taking precautionary measures provided in directives enacted by the sector.
And individuals have a duty to inform the Ministry of Health, the Ethiopian Public Health Institute, the nearest health institution or official of any person he/she suspects of being infected with the disease. And any person who suspects he/she is infected with COVID-19 has a duty to be tested by reporting to the appropriate body and shall take the necessary precautionary measures to prevent the virus from being transmitted to others.
Part three is precautionary measures for home isolation and care.
Part four deals with quarantine and boarder health control. This part covers duties on travelers with a test result of RT PCR coming through international airports in Ethiopia. Such travelers shall bring negative RT PCR test from the country he/she is coming from done up to 120 hours or five days before arriving in Ethiopia. A returnee coming through international airports of the country with no certificate of negative RT PCR test, has the duty to give sample of RT PCR test, have his/her address registered and self-quarantine at home until the result is known. Transit passengers passing through international airports of the country are not allowed to leave the airport or designated hotel by the air line and cannot enter the city or mix with the general public. Similar duties and procedures have been laid for people crossing land boarders. Finally any corpse sent to Ethiopia from abroad must be accompanied by death certificate indicating the cause of death. The funeral ceremony shall be conducted following the precautionary measure listed in the Directive.
Part five lists down duties imposed during corpse arrangement and enshrouding, transporting the corpse and funeral ceremony and duties imposed after the funeral ceremony.
Part six deals with precautionary measures that need to be taken during meetings. Meeting up to 50 individuals is allowed with all the necessary cautionary measures. When the attendees of the meeting are more than 50 individuals, permit from the Ministry of Peace or other regional peace and security organs should be obtained. Precautionary measures that need to be taken by host organizers, conference service organizers and attendees are listed.
Part seven puts cautionary measures during religious ceremony, in-house social ceremonies and holiday held in public squares. One-fourth of the maximum occupancy, distance of two adult strides need to be maintained in religious ceremonies and holidays held in public. Regarding in-house ceremonies like birthday, graduation, mahiber, and other in-house ceremonies, it is prohibited to celebrate with individuals other than family members.
Part eight deals precautionary measures that need to be taken with cafe, bars, restaurants, night clubs, coffee shops, recreational and amusement service providers, cinemas, theaters and art galleries and sport tournaments. It is prohibited to serve more than 3 people in a table and there shall be a two-meter distance between each. Night clubs, cinemas, theater and art galleries are responsible to ensure no more than one-fourth of the maximum occupancy size and a two -meter distance between customers. Sport tournaments like football, volleyball, handball, basketball, tennis, athletics and other tournaments shall not be attended by spectators and fans.
Part nine provides with restrictions and cautionary measures in physically visiting elders’ care centers and rehabilitation centers and prisoners. It is prohibited to physically visit elder’s care centers and rehabilitation centers. Prisoners visit shall be conducted with distance and other precautionary measures.
The last part i.e. part ten deals with miscellaneous provisions including duty to cooperate, legal liability and effective date of the Directive.
In conclusion Directive No 30/2020 provides prohibited activities and duties imposed on individual, social and economic aspects of Ethiopians to prevent and control Covid-19. Every person and institutions shall have the duty to cooperate for the implementation of this Directive. Any person who contravenes the restrictions and duties provided in this Directive shall be held liable as per the relevant Criminal law.