Security Alert: Reports of Anti-Foreigner Sentiment

LOCATION:  Ethiopia

EVENT:  The Embassy continues to receive reports regarding a rise in anti-foreigner sentiment revolving around the announcement of COVID-19 in Ethiopia. Typical derogatory comments directed at foreigners, the terms “China” and “Ferengi” (foreigner), have been reportedly coupled with the label “Corona,” indicating a disparaging view on the link between the outbreak of COVID-19 and foreigners in Ethiopia.

Incidents of harassment and assault directly related to COVID-19 have been reported by other foreigners living within Addis Ababa and other cities throughout the country. Reports indicate that foreigners have been attacked with stones, denied transportation services (taxis, Ride, etc.), being spat on, chased on foot, and been accused of being infected with COVID-19.

Please remain mindful of this issue, and please employ sound security practices.


  • Avoid walking/hiking/biking alone.
  • Do not walk throughout the city or residential areas, especially after dark.
  • If yelled at or spat upon, do not engage or otherwise escalate the encounter.  Do your best to immediately leave the situation/area.
  • Maintain situational awareness.  Avoid wearing headphones or using handheld electronic devices in public area.
  • If you think you are being followed, do not go home.   Go to the closet major establishment, hotel or police station.
  • If you are in a vehicle, lock your doors and keep your window rolled up.


 U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
+251-111-306-911 or 011-130-6000 (after hours)

State Department – Consular Affairs
888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444

Ethiopia Country Information

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