Ethiopians prepare for Orthodox Easter despite ban on religious gathering

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Millions of Orthodox Christians in Ethiopia are preparing to celebrate Easter amid a ban on religious congregations aimed to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Many Orthodox churches in the capital Addis Ababa have closed their doors – something unprecedented in Holy Week.

The country is in a state of emergency which prohibits gatherings of more than four people.

This has been particularly difficult to enforce – especially in market places ahead of the main holiday on Sunday.

Open markets in Addis Ababa were crowded, many of the shoppers were not wearing masks and there was little opportunity to practice social distancing.

Authorities have moved one of the biggest farmers markets to a more spacious area hoping to encourage people to keep distance amongst them but that doesn’t always happen.

Traditionally Easter is celebrated by slaughtering sheep or goats at home and there is a custom of eating raw meat which health officials are advising against.

There have been 96 cases of coronavirus in Ethiopia. That is relatively low when you compare it to South Africa’s 2,605 cases.

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