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Ethiopia steps up punishment for violating COVID-19 restrictions

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The Ethiopia Federal Attorney General Office (FAGO) announced Saturday that a legal directive has been enacted to impose up to three years of imprisonment on those who fail to adhere to COVID-19 health precautions.

The FAGO said that failure to wear face masks in public, as well as to abide by other COVID-19 health precautions by the public, businesses and other institutions, could cost people up to three years in jail, reported state media outlet Fana Broadcasting Corporate (FBC).

Under the new rules to be in effect next Monday, public gatherings of more than 50 people will be banned as part of measures to stop the spread of COVID-19, according to the FBC. Ethiopia has so far recorded 198,794 COVID-19 cases and 2,784 deaths, the country’s Ministry of Health said. Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous nation, is one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic in the continent.