Ethiopia Begins Reopening Schools Closed because of COVID-19

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Addis Ababa October 20/2020 (ENA) Ethiopia has started reopening schools this week and all schools are expected to be open by the end of the first week of next month, according to Ministry of Health.
Some 35 schools, out of over 46,000 schools with close to 30 million students in the country have resumed classes and the remaining schools are expected to reopen at the end of the first week of November, 2020.

This was disclosed at a press conference Ministry of Health, Ethiopian Public Health Institute and World Health Organization held today.

Health Minister Dr. Lia Tadesse said on the occasion that the five-month state of emergency declared in early April was replaced by a directive in September to minimize the socio-economic and political impacts it posed in the country.

COVID-19 is still a threat to Ethiopia, the minister stressed, adding that the overall situation in Ethiopia is yet better than in other countries.

She, however, warned that negligence on the part of the public is too risky and could worsen the already fragile situation.

According to her, public and private institutions have now to adhere to public health advice such as social distancing, wearing masks, and frequent washing of hands as social and economic activities have started and students are resuming classes.

“The rate of spread of the virus has been increasing by over 10 percent for the past two weeks and this makes the pandemic too risky as a country,” the minister underscored.

Dr. Lia emphasized that everyone must respect the health advice issued in the directive as the country is loosening some restrictions and opening social activities.

World Health Organization Representative to Ethiopia, Dr. Boureima H. Sambo said on his part that measures taken to respond to the pandemic have drawn a clear picture and schools are reopening in Ethiopia.

He commended the leadership for the strong partnership it established with WHO and its strong commitment for children not to lose out from the education system.

“As Ethiopia reopens school and eases other restrictions,” Sambo said, it’s critical that it remains vigilant and “maintain key COVID-19 prevention measures.”

The representative added that his organization is committed to support Ethiopia in the prevention and minimizing risks of the pandemic spread, especially while reopening the education system.

“WHO and partners want to reassure that the commitment to reinsure and reinforce the coordination mechanism on school reopening and reiterate the importance of multi-sartorial technical support,” he reassured.

The representative underscored the need to adhere to prevention measures against the spread of the pandemic.