Handshakes and gatherings banned in Ethiopia


It is the first working day in Ethiopia after restrictions put in place by a state of emergency declared to combat the coronavirus pandemic was announced over the weekend.

It is not clear if the restrictions have had much of an impact yet.

Large gatherings had already been banned and schools had been closed in early measures to combat the spread of COVID-19, the diseased caused by the virus.

The state of emergency was announced last week but details of its implementation were released on Saturday.

The decree has banned gatherings of more than four people unless there is an absolute necessity, in which case permits need to be acquired from authorities. Handshakes are also not allowed.

People now also have to wear masks in public

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Public transport operators have to cut their seat occupancy by half, while hotels and restaurants are not allowed to have more than three customers on a table

Landlords cannot evict tenants and neither can they increase the rent

Employers are prohibited from laying off workers on the grounds that business has slowed down

People who break these restrictions could face a three-year prison sentence, the decree says.

READ ALSO:Ethiopian Airlines refuses to stop China flights

The authorities have said that ordering a complete shutdown of Africa’s second-most populous nation might not be practical but they hope these restrictions will help in curbing the spread of the virus.

Here in the capital, Addis Ababa, things are as quiet as they have been since the first set of restrictions were put in place a few weeks ago, but there does not appear to be a dramatic change prompted by Saturday’s announcement.

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People can still been seen on the streets of the city in groups of more than four and without face masks.

Also, there are not more than the normal number of members of the security forces on the streets.

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