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Ethiopia: The Corona

Ethiopia: The Corona Update

Corona does not know borders. It is now almost everywhere, from shanty houses of Africa to skyscrapers of America. Corona does not care who you are. Everybody is equal before corona. Whether you are a street dweller or the president of the most powerful nation in the world, you will get infected if you fail to play by the safety rules.

Last week, the infection of the US president with the virus was huge breaking news for the international media. As for me, it was not breaking news, as such; rather it was an expected one. The President is noted for his perverted views on the virus. Often times he has appeared in public places with his mask in his pocket.

In the last week’s presidential debate, which many degraded as a brawl in a schoolyard, the president had been mocking his rival saying: “I have a mask but I use it when I have to. But he wears it all the time, and he shows up with the biggest I have ever seen.”

As if the social unrest, the violence, the ever-widening racial rift is not enough, America is now dealing with corona positive septuagenarian obese President. The more interesting tantalizing news are the ones that are coming after 2 weeks. That would be the time when we tell the currently Munleashing uncertainties are realistic or not. Will the President continue to carrying out his duties? What are the geopolitical ramifications of the president’s indefinite possible incapacitation? How would the world stock markets respond?

Speaking of personalities, we also heard last week that an Ethiopian elite marathoner has sadly been disqualified from attending the long-awaited London Marathon[scheduled to be held today], as she was tested positive for COVID-19. The world’s great athletic event was originally scheduled to take place much earlier. It was rescheduled due to the occurrence of the pandemic.

Today is the second and the major day of the Irreechaa festival, Irreechaa Hora Arsede, which is celebrated by the Oromo people in the beautiful town of Bishoftu 40 km southeast of the capital. It is expected to be attended by a specific number of people, as a safety measure against COVID-19 transmission. Yesterday, it was Irreechaa Hora Finfinee. Similarly, a week ago, there was another major street celebration across the country, Meskel.

The local media has reported that all the public holidays are being conducted in a responsible manner safeguarding the health and security of the public attending the celebration and avoiding the possibilities for coronavirus to get a chance for gaining a new wave of transmission.

We have to wait for about two weeks to verify the successes of the safety measures undertaken to avoid the spread of the virus during the holiday celebrations we have had recently. We do pray and hope we would not experience another round of spike in the new coronavirus cases.

Health authorities have been appealing to the public to take maximum precautions and contribute their share in preventing the further transmission of the virus. A senior health official told EBC recently ” In our several months fight against corona, we suffered many losses; we have also made several gains. What we need to do now is exercising the utmost care not to regress and lose our gains and victories. What we [citizens] are expected to do are simple things-just stick to the basic safety measures!”

Last week, the Education Ministry has unveiled the details of its safety measure strategies that would enable it to reopen schools across the nation in a stepwise approach. FBC has quoted the education minister as saying an assessment committee has gone operational to check whether schools are well prepared with the COVID prevention system in place to be reopened and start classes.

It was reported that pupils’ parents would be a major actor in assessment committees organized in every school and the committee also comprises officials from various local agencies including health and education administration offices. The assessment committee would make sure the required facilities and protective supplies vital to prevent the spread of the pandemic are fulfilled in schools; and that classrooms are capable of accommodating pupils as per social distancing guidelines.

The Ministry of Education has reportedly notified that both public and private schools which failed to get the approval of the committee will not be allowed to start the teaching-learning activities.

In an interview, he had last Thursday with EBC the Minister has disclosed that his office was distributing pupils’ face masks to every school across the nation, and is facilitating training programs for teachers to arm them with basic skills of coping with the challenges of reopening schools in the presence COVID-19.

“Until now it was our health professional that were the front line fighters in saving our nation from the scourge of the pandemic. And now, it is time for the teachers to join the front line. It is now a patriotic duty for teachers to do their level best to make sure our school system up and running. I call upon all educated citizens to volunteer as a teacher at schools in their vicinity. I myself will volunteer to teach math and physics at schools around Arat Kilo,” said the minister.






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