Medecins Sans Frontieres staff transport a patient at a mobile clinic in the town of Hawzen, south of the city of Adigrat, in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. AP
The Ethiopian government is set to embark on community-wide COVID-19 testing in conflict-affected Tigray regional state as situation becomes normal, the country's Ministry of Peace announced Monday.
The statement came after a review meeting by government ministries regarding the ongoing emergency humanitarian assistance and rehabilitation activities.
According to the ministry, preparations have been finalised to launch the community-wide COVID-19 test by next week.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) had recently warned that the interruption of COVID-19 surveillance and control activities in Tigray due to the recent conflict could facilitate massive community transmission.
Months' fighting between the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), which used to rule the Tigray regional state, and the Ethiopian National Defense Forces has displaced around 2.2 million people, while 4.5 million people are in need of emergency aid, according to figures from the Ethiopian government.
Prior to the conflict, the Tigray region had reported 6,610 positive COVID-19 cases by the end of October 2020.
As of Monday morning, the East African country reported 175,467 COVID-19 cases as the death toll related to the pandemic rose to 2,550, the Ethiopian Ministry of Health said.