Steps taken to preserve the operation of Parliament

In line with the latest Government advice and guidance from the council of Ministers and Ethiopian Public Health Institute, all visitor access to the Parliamentary premises will stop from Tuesday 24 March. Access will be restricted to pass holders, staffs and those on essential Parliamentary businesses.

This decision, consistent with the latest Government advice, has been taken by the Speakers of both Houses, in consultation with Ethiopian Public Health Institute. The steps are supported by the Speakers of both Houses and Secretariat.

Only allowed MPs, Standing Committees, staff and other members of the Parliamentary community will continue to be able to work on their office where necessary, but are being strongly encouraged to work from home where possible.

In reference to access restrictions and work at home placed on the House last Tuesday, the Speaker of the House, Tagesse Chafo said:

"We are resolved that house should, insofar as possible, continue to fulfill its important constitutional duties of passing legislation, holding the government to account and, crucially, representing the views of the people of Ethiopia and making their voices heard. 

"In order to preserve the operation of the House, it is our duty to take proportionate and reasonable measures to reduce the risk to those who work on the House and those who have to visit. 

"We are clear that now is the time to be pragmatic; everyone in the country is being asked to strike a balance and it is right that we do the same. 

"It is in this spirit that we have decided to implement restrictions relating to the COVID-19 epidemic and to work from home. These steps have been developed in conjunction with the Council of Ministers and Ethiopian Public Health Institute and reflect the Government’s current approach."

The World Health Organization (WHO) has now declared a coronavirus pandemic and the virus is now circulating in many countries. We advise against inward and outward parliamentary travel to certain countries and regions as specified by the Foreign Minister of Ethiopia and Council of Ministers.

House officials are receiving daily briefings from Ethiopian Public Health Institute and are holding daily planning meetings to manage the situation in accordance with that advice. 

We have been reassured that our current response is reasonable and proportionate.

House and Secretariat authorities are keeping the situation under constant review, and are being updated according to the best medical advice.