Due to the coronavirus outbreak, Ethiopia has joined the list of countries that have introduced travel restrictions that affect who can enter the region.
The temporary entry restrictions are intended to help contain the virus and stop it from spreading.
See below the measures Ethiopia has taken to control the COVID-19 outbreak and flatten the curve in the East African state.
What Travel Restrictions Has Ethiopia Introduced?
Ethiopia began implementing travel restrictions in March 2020, after the first cases of COVID-19 in the country had been reported. The steps taken affect transport to the country and outline quarantine procedures for passengers arriving by air.
The first known case of coronavirus in Ethiopia was announced on March 13, with 5 more cases being discovered within a week of this.
The first restrictions on travel were announced on March 20. Further measures were taken as the outbreak progressed.
Can I Still Fly to Ethiopia?
Ethiopia introduced entry restrictions on flights on March 20, 2020 by suspending flights run by the state carrier Ethiopian Airlines (the biggest airline in Africa) to 30 countries.
This suspension was extended to over 80 countries on March 29.
Flights have since resumed and it is now possible to travel to Ethiopia by air with Ethiopian Airlines and various other carriers.
Travelers who choose to fly to the country will have to abide by the quarantine regulations that are currently in place.
Coronavirus Quarantine Procedures in Ethiopia
Since March 23, there has been an obligatory quarantine procedure for all passengers arriving in the country.
International travelers arriving in Ethiopia must have a medical certificate proving that they tested negative for COVID-19 with a RT-PCR test within 5 days before flying. A rapid diagnostic test (RDT antibody test) will not be accepted for this purpose.
It is then necessary to self-isolate at the traveler’s home or accommodation for 14 days.
Passengers who arrive without the medical certificate will be tested on arrival and quarantined at a designated hotel, such as the Ethiopian Skylight Hotel, or a special quarantine center for 7 days. This is paid for at their own expense. After the first week, they will be retested and permitted to self-isolate at home for the remaining 7 days.
The 14-day period does not apply to passengers transiting through Ethiopia.
Diplomats are another exceptional case. They must complete a 14-day quarantine, but this will be undertaken at the embassy of their country in Ethiopia.
Are Ethiopia’s Borders Open?
In March, all land borders were closed to travelers, with very few exceptions. Security forces were deployed to the border to enforce this measure. This has made entering the country much more difficult. It was hoped is that these steps would reduce the number of new COVID-19 cases.
In August, land borders with neighboring Djibouti were reopened and transport services resumed operations. Ethiopia’s land borders with other countries may be reopened soon, following talks with the governments of these nations.
Measures Against COVID-19 in Ethiopia
Ethiopia has taken a number of steps against the coronavirus within the country itself.
Schools were closed, sporting events were canceled, and public gatherings were banned on March 16, 2020.
On April 8, a state of emergency was declared, which is expected to last for 5 months.
Various regions of Ethiopia took further measures. The following regions implemented lockdowns and travel restrictions on public transportation:
- Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region
- Benishangul Gumuz
Oromia suspended all cross-country and inter-city public transportation.
Tigray temporarily banned all travel and public activity as well as closing all cafés and restaurants.
General Travel Advisory for Ethiopia
Outside of travel restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic, there are certain parts of Ethiopia that visitors are advised to avoid due to sporadic civil unrest, communications disruptions, crime, and conflict.
These areas tend to be border regions, such as the border with Somalia as well as the Kenya, Sudan, South Sudan, and Eritrea frontiers.
Other regions where foreign travelers should be careful when visiting are:
- Somali Regional State
- Ethiopia’s Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s Region (SNNPR)
- The East Hararge region and the Guji zone of Oromia State
- Benishangul Gumuz and the western part of Oromia State
The rest of Ethiopia is generally considered safe for foreign nationals.
As with visiting any country, it is advisable for all travelers to be vigilant of their surroundings and take care of their personal belongings.
General Entry Restrictions for Ethiopia
Under normal circumstances, only nationals of 2 neighboring countries may enter Ethiopia without a visa. Travelers from all other nations must obtain a visa in order to visit.
The Ethiopia online visa (also known as the Electronic Visa or eVisa for Ethiopia) is available to the majority of travelers.
The eVisa is quick and easy to acquire by completing a simple Ethiopia online visa application form, which takes a matter of minutes to fill in. This accessibility eliminates the need to go to an embassy to apply for a visa, which takes longer to process than the online option.
Find out who is eligible for an eVisa by checking the Ethiopia visa requirements.
Foreign nationals who obtain the necessary travel documents will be able to enter the country.