The Ethiopian Airlines announced on Sunday that it had suspended passenger flight to over 80 destinations around the world as the COVID 19 infection number hit over 700,000 around the world.
Some of the major competitors like Turkish Airlines and Emirates have suspended flights. But there are also those that are still flying. Qatar Airways is still flying to most of its international destinations.
Ethiopian Airlines’ decision is effective as of March 29, 2020.
Local destinations are still operational, but the number of passengers has plummeted by about 50 percent, said the airlines.
However, the cargo flight across the world will continue to all its international destinations in a way that does not risk its employee’s exposure to COVID 19 infection.
The airline says it does not have shortages of gloves and masks and has provided over 500,000 of them to its employees so far. It said it has approached companies that produce glove and face masks and will continue to provide its employees with these much-needed safety kits.
Recently the airlines delivered to 51 African countries COVID prevention kits donated by Chinese billionaire and founder of Alibaba, Jack Ma.
Earlier this week, the airlines announced that all ticket offices in the country would be closed as part of in line with the social distancing policy to fight COVID 19. “As part of COVID-19 containment strategy, Ethiopian will temporarily close all its ticket offices in Ethiopia effective March 30, 2020,” said the airlines.
There has been public pressure on Ethiopian Airlines management for not suspending nearly 28 weekly passenger flights to China, which were back then the epicenter of COVID 19. Currently, the US overtook as the epicenter of COVID infection across the world, with over 100,000 cases of infection.
On Sunday, the Ministry of Health announced that the number of COVID 19 cases in Ethiopia had reached 21 after the Public Health Institute diagnosed two more people in the capital Addis Ababa. However, two patients are said to have recovered fully, and there are no reported deaths so far.