Rights Group Condemns Internet Shutdown in Ethiopia, Points to Threats of Coronavirus Spread
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (newdelhitimes) — Rights groups and citizens are calling on Ethiopia’s government to lift the internet shutdown in parts of the country that is leaving millions of people without important updates on the coronavirus.
The months-long shutdown of internet and phone lines in Western Oromia and parts of the Benishangul Gumuz region is occurring during military operations against rebel forces.
“Residents of these areas are getting very limited information about the coronavirus,” Jawar Mohammed, an activist-turned-politician, told The Associated Press.
Ethiopia reported its first coronavirus case on March 13 and now has a dozen. Officials have been releasing updates mostly online. Land borders have closed and national carrier Ethiopian Airlines has stopped flying to some 30 destinations around the world.
A ruling party official in the Oromia region, Taye Dendea, on Sunday posted on Facebook saying that “tourists and other foreigners are not travelling to these areas because of the security problem that exists there, so there’s little chance that the virus will get there.”
Human Rights Watch has said millions of Ethiopians are not getting access to timely and accurate information.
“It is laudable that (Ethiopia’s prime minister) Abiy is taking charge of managing a coronavirus prevention effort on the African continent, but he should not ignore the needs of those within his own country.”
Yohannes Tessema, a political figure from the Benishangul Gumuz region, said both internet and phones lines are cut in some locations and that it’s difficult to disseminate information about the pandemic to residents.
“We have never experienced such lengthy cuts in the past. People in these areas are not getting badly needed updates, and that is dangerous,” he said.
Hantavirus: New deadly virus in China kills man within hours after testing positive
Beijing (NH Bureau): While the world is still finding a solution to skip pandemic Coronavirus, China has already found another deadly virus named Hantavirus. According to a latest media report, a man from China’s Yunnan province was tested positive to the new virus and died hours after that.
According to a report in China’s Global Times, the man was on his way back to Shandong Province for work on a chartered bus when he passed away. The more shocking update is that 32 other people have been tested for the same and are awaiting their test results.
With the death report finding its way on the social media, the netizens were seen in sudden panic. In India, too, it quickly went on to trend on Twitter with netizens tweeting their thoughts.
What is Hantavirus?
As mentioned in the website of Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Hantavirus is caused by rodents. It can spread in humans who come in contact them. The website description reads, “Rodent infestation in and around the home remains the primary risk for hantavirus exposure. Even healthy individuals are at risk for HPS infection if exposed to the virus.”
While the relief remains that this is not a kind of disease that spreads from human to human, but a person can get infected if they have touched their eyes, nose or mouth after touching rodent droppings, urine, or nesting materials, as per a fact sheet of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The symptoms for Hantavirus are similar to Covid-19 which includes fever, headache, abdominal pain among others.