Saudi Arabia is stepping up the deportation of thousands of Ethiopians, including some who are suspected of suffering from coronavirus, an act that some migrant advocates have described as reckless and inhumane. Over the past 10 days, up to two flights a day carrying Ethiopian migrants have landed at Addis Ababa international airport, before returning to Saudi Arabia loaded with cattle exports. A total of 2,968 migrants were returned in the first 10 days of April, according to one UN official who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak on the matter.
“This is simply not the moment for mass deportations from a public health perspective,” said Catherine Sozi, UN humanitarian co-ordinator for Ethiopia. “These mass deportations, without any pre-departure medical screening are likely to exacerbate the spread of Covid-19 to the region and beyond.”