Ethiopia has reported its first death of a COVID-19 patient, a 60-year old woman who was in treatment at a hospital in the capital since March 31, the Health Minister Lia Tadesse said on Sunday.
The Horn of Africa nation has a total of 43 confirmed cases of the disease, which is caused by the new coronavirus, and has reported four recoveries.
On Wednesday Ethiopia postponed parliamentary elections scheduled for August due to the coronavirus outbreak, the electoral board said, a move endorsed by some key opposition parties.
The vote had been regarded as an important test of the reformist agenda of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in what was once one of the continent’s most repressive nations.
“Due to the pandemic we were forced to suspend our activities,” said an Amharic-language statement from the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia. The board will announce a new timeline once the pandemic has subsided, it said.
Ethiopia is Africa’s second-most populous nation with 105 million citizens. Abiy promised to liberalise the state-run economy and oversaw reforms that freed thousands of political prisoners, journalists and opposition activists.
Previous elections in Ethiopia, a parliamentary democracy, have been marred by allegations of rigging and intimidation.
Abiy has promised to hold free and fair elections and has been positioning himself as a unity candidate whose reforms could replace repression as the glue holding Ethiopia’s often fractious federal regions together.