By Seleshi Tessema
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AA) – Ethiopian fire brigades on Sunday cleaned and disinfected public spaces in the country's capital, Addis Ababa to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The efforts were organized by municipal officials, deploying some 90 fire brigade cars.
Eyes Solomon, an official with the city administration, told the public Ethiopian News Agency: "We are trying to prevent the spread of coronavirus and also raise public awareness on the pandemic."
Health officials in Ethiopia have confirmed 16 COVID-19 cases, but have expressed concern at public non-compliance with social distancing measures.
Mohammed Amanu, a trader in Merkato, the biggest market in the capital, told Anadolu Agency that many who come to the market wash their hands, but do not comply with social distancing despite mass prevention awareness efforts.
"It is a real problem and the government should enforce social distancing in one way or another," he said. "But the fear of the pandemic is felt in all walks of life in the city."
The pandemic has reached 46 African countries.
After first appearing in Wuhan, China, last December, the novel coronavirus has spread to at least 177 countries and territories, according to data compiled by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.
The data shows over 669,300 cases have been reported worldwide since last December, with the death toll above 30,900 and over 142,000 recoveries.