Eritrea’s Guidelines from the High Level Task Force on COVID-19, Asmara 22 April 2020

Guidelines from the High Level Task Force on COVID-19

As it will be recalled, the Government of Eritrea issued, on April 1st this month, the “Stay at Home” Guidelines to supplement and bolster previous measures. The Guidelines were effective for three weeks from the 2nd until 22nd April. Rigorous enforcement measures were subsequently put in place and pursued with the requisite effectiveness.

All these measures are geared, in their totality, to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and thereby ensure effective implementation of the central preventive strategy that the GOE had mapped out from the outset.

All relevant institutions have and continue to be fully and earnestly involved, with laudable commitment and coordination, to stop the spread of the pandemic.

In this respect, more than 1600 nationals who returned home–in the past thirty days – from abroad by commercial flights, as well as through our ports and land borders, as well as their immediate family members and contacts, have and continue to be quarantined for 21 days.

All suspected cases have undergone through standard tests while those diagnosed positive have and continue to receive necessary medical treatment.

All these integrated efforts are aimed at controlling the spread of COVID-19. Still, the number of infected individuals to-date has reached 39.

In spite of few and isolated instances of breach, strict adherence by the general public to GOE Guidelines as well as to the professional advice and sensitization programmes conducted by medical doctors and other experts has been commendable indeed.

However, and in view of the nature and gravity of this pandemic, we cannot assert, with certainty, that the spread of COVID-19 has been fully controlled in this relatively short period. Indeed, the abrupt and exponential spike of contagion of the disease that we have witnessed in many countries after initial weeks of relatively slow rate of spread accentuates the gravity of the potential danger and the urgency of pursuing our preventive efforts more vigorously.

In the circumstances, and in order to guarantee the safety of the people and the country, the Government of Eritrea announces that the Guidelines in place since April1 will remain in force while the spread of COVID-19 will continue to be assessed comprehensively and the resultant accurate information made public at the appropriate time.

The Guidelines in place, and that will remain effective in accordance with the current announcement, will guarantee continuation of key development programmes and vital public services. Yet, they will entail onerous hardships on the daily lives of citizens; especially on segments who eke out subsistence living. Furthermore, enterprises in the service sector who have been closed are shouldering the additional burden of paying salaries to their employees besides forfeiting their business revenues.

These hardships are enormous. But taking into account our capabilities and the gravity of the looming danger, we have no option of stopping and curtailing the spread of this vicious pandemic other than the strict implementation of our preventing strategy. In the event, it is critical that all concerned contribute their part in the implementation of the current Guidelines with greater patience, commitment and diligence.

The exemplary commitment, mutual solidarity, and support to the disadvantaged that our people have shown in the fight against COVID-19 is admirable indeed. The financial contributions that our citizens at home and in the Diaspora have and continue to make to enhance GOE’s preventive strategy in the fight against the pandemic and to buttress the National Fund is an eloquent testimony of our rich culture of compassion and solidarity. These gestures warrant recognition and gratitude.

In conclusion, we express profound gratitude to all relevant institutions who have been engaged in monitoring the implementation of GOE Guidelines with high responsibility and commitment and urge them to pursue these functions with greater diligences.

High Level Task Force on COVID-19
22 April 2020