Eritrea’s Zero COVID-19 Death Rate Laudable

Opinions Bereket Kidane
COVID-19 death rates in Eritrea currently stands at zero percent, which is the lowest in the world.
The death rates due to the COVID-19 coronavirus in Eritrea currently stand at zero percent, which is the lowest in the world, as the country imposed strict preventive measures early.


Eritrea, with its public awareness campaigns related to COVID-19, strict lockdowns, stoppage to international flights and immediate 14-day quarantine of travellers arriving on international flights prior to the total ban on travel is having great success in managing the pandemic outbreak.

When dealing with health crises, the most important statistic is a ratio between the confirmed cases and the number of fatalities, which in Eritrea currently stands at zero percent, the lowest in the world.

To date in Eritrea, there have been 39 confirmed cases and zero fatalities. The average death rate around the world currently stands at 6.3%. If we look at the frightening scenarios happening in European countries, for instance, Italy (13% death rate), France (11% death rate), Spain (10% death rate), etc, it’s obvious that Eritrea’s strict, no-nonsense approach to fighting this pandemic is showing great results.

The Government of Eritrea’s handling of the crisis by leveraging the strength and solidarity of Eritreans has been excellent thus far.

Eritreans are not great social distancers in practice because they put a premium on community engagement. However, when it comes to dealing with crises or national challenges, we are known to put our differences aside and work for hand in glove with our government. That’s exactly what Eritreans at home and abroad have done since the outbreak of this global pandemic.

Eritreans abroad immediately went into a “Mekhete” mode just as they did when their sovereignty was threatened and raised millions of dollars to fight this pandemic while Eritreans at home adhere to the guidance issued by the Ministry of Health to save themselves and their fellow citizens from a catastrophe.

The current lockdowns and bans on international flights will eventually be lifted and with that the rate of infections may arise in the future. Because COVID-19 is such a new disease, there are too many unknowns about the exact trajectory of the pandemic and much trepidation about the social and economic disruptions it will no doubt cause in the future. But in this fight against a formidable enemy, the Eritrean people’s strength and solidarity, as well as the Government of Eritrea’s expertise in crisis management, gives me great hope that Eritrea will emerge intact with little loss of lives out of this global crisis.

Yesterday, Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki took to the airwaves to give words of encouragement on the fight against the global pandemic and convey his government’s well-wishes for the start of the holy month of Ramadan and the celebration of Orthodox Easter Sunday.

Eritrea simply needs to ignore its riff-raff detractors and their demented fantasies.

In ordinary times, this would be the time when Eritrean communities around the globe start planning their Independence Day party programs. But these are not ordinary times. And this year is not like all others. Indications are that the social distancing guidelines and lockdowns will still be largely in effect a month from now, especially in the diaspora.

The COVID-19 pandemic will make it impossible for Eritrea’s Independence Week rituals of carnivals, packed outdoor concerts, street performances, tent parties, and large social gatherings to be observed this year. But skipping it is not an option.

Remembering and rejoicing in the miraculous birth of the State of Eritrea is no less important this year. We can still wave Eritrea’s flag proudly from wherever we are and celebrate Eritrea’s 29th birthday in unison virtually perhaps on Zoom or through global-live streaming?

Or will it be a drive-by Independence Party this year in some localities and parks? It goes without saying that we will have to find new ways to celebrate Independence Day this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.