Africa, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

Virus cases surpass 90K as schools reopen in Ethiopia

'We cannot keep children out of school,' says health minister despite COVID-19 gathering speed

Addis Getachew Tadesse   | 21.10.2020
Virus cases surpass 90K as schools reopen in Ethiopia File Photo

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia

As schools partially reopened in Ethiopia, the novel coronavirus cases in the country reached 90,490, according to the figures issued by the Ministry of Health on Wednesday. 

In the country, at least 1,371 people have died of the virus, while 43,638 people have recovered.

Addressing a joint news conference with WHO Country Director Boureima Sambo marking the partial reopening of schools in the country on Tuesday, Minister for Health Lia Tadesse said the spread of the virus has gathered speed since September.

The minister said 14.9% of the people infected with the virus constitutes critically ill patients who need intensive care.

“The fact that the five-month COVID-19 state of emergency has been lifted and restrictions have been relaxed might have created a sense of imprudence in observing necessary care,” Lia said.

On Tuesday, the horn of Africa nation announced partial reopening of schools – 30% of schools – across the country except in the capital city of Addis Ababa where 70% of the virus caseload exists.

“The current reality is that #COVID19 will be here for some time. Decisions had to be made in light of this understanding. We cannot keep #children out of #school for longer than this, and are taking steps for safe #schoolreopening in Ethiopia,” she tweeted.

For his part, however, Sambo said schools’ reopening must be in line with the COVID-19 guidelines.

“School reopening must be done strictly adhering to #COVID19 prevention guidelines to avoid transmission. But this alone will not be sufficient unless we do the same in communities because our children, their teachers & staff live in their respective communities,” he said in a tweet.

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