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Covid-19 hits schools again

by Staff reporter
03 Apr 2021 at 14:48hrs | Views
THE coronavirus pandemic has hit schools again, following 46 confirmed new cases involving learners, educators and non-teaching staff in Harare and Mberengwa.

The cases at Prince Edward High School and Dove Secondary School in Mberengwa have prompted authorities to deploy teams from the ministries of Health and Education to carry out investigations.

The national chief Covid-19 co-ordinator in President Emmerson Mnangagwa's office, Agnes Mahomva, told the Daily News yesterday that the teams would establish if schools across the country were following the government's standard operating procedures.

"The two ministries are on the ground, in the trenches as we speak, to establish what is happening and find out if they (schools) are following the guidelines.

"We are doing everything we can to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in schools and anywhere else for that matter.

"The ministries of Health and Education were tasked by the national Covid-19 taskforce to work together in investigating and strengthening any gaps that might be there," Mahomva said.

She also revealed that relevant sub-committees of the national Covid-19 taskforce had been tasked to get to the bottom of the matter, ahead of next week's Cabinet meeting.

"We are meeting with the respective permanent secretaries and taskforce sub-committees. We are not resting this holiday as we prepare for next week's taskforce meeting and Cabinet.

"You will be hearing from the ministry of Education on the findings of their investigations so that we can be able to make recommendations.

"Next week you will probably hear new things coming out in terms of how we are managing it in terms of strengthening what is already on the ground," Mahomva said.

The latest Covid-19 cases to hit schools were first reported at Prince Edward last week, after seven learners returned positive results after undergoing tests at Parirenyatwa Hospital.

A total of 32 learners are currently quarantined at the school, while the staff members are self-isolating at home.

Prior to reports of the new wave of Covid-19 cases in schools, teachers unions had raised the flag about the lack of preparedness by many schools to open for the first time this year.

Last year, about 500 pupils were infected with Covid-19 at various schools - including John Tallach in Bulawayo and Chinhoyi High School in Mashonaland West.

This comes as the government has ordered that boarding schools should not break for the Easter Holidays which began yesterday and end on Monday, as authorities strive to contain the spread of the lethal disease.

"School learners who are in boarding schools will not be permitted to travel back home. Equally, no parents will travel to concerned schools for purposes of visits," Mnangagwa said on Tuesday.

The country experienced a second wave of Covid-19 infections and rising deaths between January and February this year, following the Christmas holidays.

As a result, the government has become wary of the problem associated with holidays and has, therefore, advised against unnecessary travel this Easter. Mnangagwa has also said all travellers to Zimbabwe have to be cleared for Covid-19 through PCR tests done at least 48 hours before their entry into the country.

"Those with a valid PCR negative certificate will self-quarantine at home or in a hotel for 10 days from the day of arrival into the country," he said, while urging Zimbabweans to get vaccinated so that the country can attain herd immunity.

Source - dailynews