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 of 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.
Some other airlines may still operate flights to Ethiopia, depending on the current policy of the airline and the country of origin. Travelers who choose to fly to the country will have to abide by the quarantine regulations that are now 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 must spend a minimum of 14 days in isolation at the Ethiopian Skylight Hotel. This is paid for at their own expense.
The 14-day period does not apply to passengers transiting through Ethiopia. Individuals in this situation must stay at the Ethiopian Skylight Hotel only until catching their onward flight.
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?
All land borders have been 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. The hope is that these steps will reduce the number of new COVID-19 cases.
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 have taken further measures. The following regions have implemented lockdowns and travel restrictions on public transportation:
- Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region
- Benishangul Gumuz
Oromia has suspended all cross-country and inter-city public transportation.
Tigray has 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.