The US embassy in Ethiopia has warned that foreigners are being attacked in cities across the country after being accused of being infected with Covid-19, the respiratory illness caused by coronavirus.
In a security alert posted on its website, the embassy said it "continues to receive reports regarding a rise in anti-foreigner sentiment" since the first case of the virus was detected in Africa's second-most populous state last week.
Typical derogatory comments such as â€œChinaâ€ and â€œferengiâ€ (a reference to foreigners) have been "reportedly coupled with the label â€œcorona", indicating a disparaging view on the link between the outbreak of Covid-19 and foreigners in Ethiopia", it added.
"Reports indicate that foreigners have been attacked with stones, denied transportation services... being spat on, chased on foot, and been accused of being infected with Covid-19," the embassy added.
Ethiopia has detected six cases of coronavirus - the first was that of a Japanese national who travelled from the West African state of Burkina Faso.