Why British embassy staff left Eritrea

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has clarified why it pulled its staff out of Eritrea, saying that it was entirely due to the current Covid 19 pandemic.

The government was concerned that its staff working in relatively isolated places, including Madagascar and Guinea, might find themselves without adequate health care if they became ill, and recalled them to the UK. At the same time the FCO issued advice to all British subjects not to travel anywhere in the world, unless it was absolutely necessary.

A chartered flight left Eritrea for Ethiopia last Saturday, (25th April) with 125 foreign nationals from seven nationalities on board. This included 31 British nationals and dual British/Eritrean nationals, plus the ambassador, his wife and son and his deputy. The FCO personnel are now working remotely, but the British Embassy remains open with some functions being delegated to locally recruited Eritrean staff.

Not all British subjects have left Eritrea. A small number of longer term residents remain, while a larger number of dual British/Eritrean nationals decided not to leave since they wished to be with their families for Eritrean Easter. The lockdown in Eritrea is due to end on 23 April and some may travel back to the UK after that.



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