Deputy PM Confers with UK Minister for Africa

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Addis Ababa July 29/2020(ENA) Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonen held discussion today with UK Under Secretary of State for Africa James Duddridge about ways of consolidating bilateral ties and other issues of common concern.

James Duddridge, who has been in Addis Ababa for a three-day official visit, met with the deputy PM and discussed also COVID-19, it was learned.

During the discussion, Demeke expressed solidarity with the United Kingdom in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic and conveyed condolences on the loss of life in UK.

Briefing the COVID-19 situation in Ethiopia, the Deputy Prime Minister said over 14,500 cases and about 228 deaths are registered since the first case of the virus was confirmed 13th February 2020.

Rely that since the beginning of the crisis, Ethiopia has taken proactive interventions including allocation of an emergency budget, mandatory quarantining, closure of schools, limiting the number of the federal workforce and postponement public gatherings, he explained.    

He further stated since the number of cases continued to raise, the government decided to decree a State of Emergency that will last for five months to minimize the impact of the pandemic.

As the  government has been taking measures to mitigate the adverse economic impact of COVID-19, Demeke requested assistance from the UK in particular to help it increase testing capacity.

Speaking about bilateral relationship, the deputy premier appreciated the continued development assistance offered by the Government of UK to Ethiopia.

He also informed the minister about the willingness of the new leadership to strengthen cooperation with UK in areas of common interest.

Under Secretary of State James Duddridge expressed on his part about his concerns on the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in Ethiopia and Africa.

The UK is one of Ethiopia’s most dependable partners in its fight against poverty; and the country provides 300 million pounds assistance to Ethiopia per annum.