Ethiopia: Regional differences in government response to COVID-19

By Sidak Yntiso (@SYntiso) & Mastewal T. Terefe (@Mastishtt) | April 10, 2020


The 9 national regional states and the two city administrations (Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa) have responded to the COVID-19 with different levels of aggressiveness.


When it comes to physical distancing efforts, the city of Addis Ababa, where most of the 65 cases have been recorded so far, has taken minimal measures to enforce physical distancing. Only last week, the city mandated that public transport vehicles operate at half capacity. Passengers have been asked to pay double the amount of regular fares. On the other hand, regional states like Tigray and Harari, which have not recorded a single case so far, began taking strict physical distancing measures on March 25, 2020.


Turning to other measures, the regional state of Tigray has declared a state of emergency, now extended to cover the next 3 months. Tigray has not closed its borders to incoming passengers. All other regional states, with the exception of Benishangul-Gumuz for which we lack sufficient data, have announced a ban on incoming public transport.


To assess trends in administrative governments’ response to the COVID-19 emergency, we collected data on the most common policy measures implemented in Ethiopia. These government policy measures include restricting travel, restricting public gatherings, releasing prisoners, closing entertainment venues, closing cafes and restaurants, issuing stay at home orders and declaring a state of emergency.




Beginning March 25, 2020, scholars at Oxford University have been tracking and comparing government responses to COVID-19 worldwide. They measure and score the stringency of enacted policy measures on one scale, the Stringency Index. The index is a country-level additive scale of several policy indicators, rescaled from 0-100 points.


Drawing from the Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker (OxCGRT), we adapted the Stringency Index based on the seven most common policy measures in Ethiopia. Travel restrictions have taken three forms (intra-state public transportation restrictions, inter-state public transportation restrictions and rural-urban public transportation restrictions), each of which contribute equally to the travel restrictions indicator. The index does not reflect policy declarations at the sub-region level, for example stay at home orders in several cities in Amhara region or other city-wide orders. Also note that findings are based on data available as of April 8, 2020.  More information on the indicators used in this analysis can be found here whereas the underlying data for this index can be accessed on this dashboard.

For up-to-date information on various relief measures announced by federal/regional states, visit this page.