Thousands of undocumented Ethiopian migrants are being deported from Saudi Arabia amid efforts to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus pandemic.
For Ethiopian migrants working in Saudi Arabia without the necessary permits, deportation is an ever-present possibility.
Since the Saudi government began cracking down on what it called “illegal expatriates” in 2017, tens of thousands have been regularly sent back home.
After a two-week hiatus, Saudi’s efforts to return the Ethiopian migrants have resumed.
More than 2,000 migrants arrived in the capital Addis Ababa in the first half of April with more expected in the coming weeks.
The returnees – like any other incoming travellers – are expected to spend 14 days in mandatory quarantine and it is not clear how equipped Ethiopia’s isolation centres are for an influx of returnees.
The migrants are currently staying in schools prepared by authorities as makeshift quarantine centres.
The UN has warned that large-scale migratory movements could exacerbate the spread of the virus.
Ethiopia has reported 82 cases of coronavirus and three deaths.