Ethiopia to Hold Elections, Open Schools amid COVID-19 Outbreak

By Staff Reporter

Ethiopian-ElectionsSeptember 22, 2020 ( -- The Ethiopian parliament on Tuesday decided that the country’s 6th general election would take place this year with the necessary precaution measures against coronavirus outbreak.

The general election, which was originally scheduled for August 29, 2020, was postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic on March 31, 2020.

The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia said it had been forced to suspend pre-election activities due to the pandemic and promised to announce a new timeline once the pandemic has subsided.

The house’s decision came after the Ministry of Health recommended that the country can hold the elections with necessary preventive measures in place.

Reports coming from the country’s Ministry of Health however indicated that the number of confirmed cases for COVID-19 is on the rise, affecting more than 70, 000 people and killing over 1100 citizens.

The northern Tigray region held polls two weeks ago, defying federal authorities and violating measures imposed as part of the COVID-19 state of emergency.

Ethiopia has extended the date for its parliamentary elections twice already, first due to threats of violence and instability and then because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The parliament decided to hold the election with majority vote and eight abstain.

Meanwhile, at Least 25 million learners are to return to schools in Ethiopia this month as part of the government decision to further relax covid-19 restrictions.

Education Minister, Dr. Getahun Mekuria said the government has finalized preparations to reopen schools in compliance with COVID 19 precautionary measures.

He said the government will fulfill protective supplies such as face-masks sanitizers and other antirational facilities in schools as classes begin.

With spreading of the virus, parents are, however, expressing mixed views over the wisdom of opening schools during the outbreak.

The reopening will be applicable at levels step by step after it starts at primary schools, the minister said.

The teaching process will be offered from two to three shifts based on objective realities of the areas the schools are situated, he said.

All the precautionary guidelines and principles that were introduced to prevent the spread of the virus will be made compulsory in schools, Dr. Getahun said.

The government of Ethiopia is also considering reopening higher learning institutions across the country.

It is to be recalled that the Ministry of Health recommended the House of Peoples Representatives to pass a decision to reopen schools in conformity with precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the virus.

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