The directive only covers those given a maximum sentence of three years for minor crimes and those who were about to be released from jail, she said.
There are 12 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Ethiopia, according to the World Health Organization on Wednesday.
Authorities in the nation have put in place a raft of measures including the closure of all borders except to those bringing in essential goods to contain the virus. The government has directed security officials to monitor and enforce a ban on large gatherings and overcrowded public transport to ensure social distancing.
Ethiopia launched a National Resource Mobilization Committee to pool funds and nonfinancial resources in preparation for a “worst-case scenario,” according to a statement shared by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Twitter.