ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopian parliament has approved the state of emergency bill in an extraordinary meeting held on Friday.
The five-month-long decree was proposed by the council of ministers on Wednesday to help the country curb the spread of coronavirus in Ethiopia.
The voting took place inside Congress Hall, near the Prime Minister Office, in a rare move to avoid congestion.
The majority of parliament members vote for the bill’s approval while one chose to abstain on the first state of emergency announced under Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who came to power in 2018.
Home to almost 110 million people, Ethiopia has recorded 56 coronavirus cases and two deaths to date.
“Because the coronavirus pandemic is getting worse, the Ethiopian government has decided to declare a state of emergency,” Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said in a statement on Wednesday.
“I call upon everybody to stand in line with government bodies and others that are trying to overcome this problem,” he added, warning of “grave legal measures” against anyone who undermines the fight against the pandemic.
It was not yet clear how the state of emergency would affect day-to-day life in Ethiopia.
Authorities have already taken a series of measures to stem the spread of the virus, including closing schools, banning public gatherings and requiring most employees to work from home.
Photo File: Today’s session took place outside of the the main hall of parliament. [Photo File]