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Covid-19 in schools: Situation under control

by Dr Constantino Chiwenga
18 Apr 2021 at 06:40hrs | Views
Press Statement by the Hon. Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr Constantino Chiwenga on outbreaks of Covid-19 in learning institutions in Zimbabwe

AS of 16 April 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care has reported cumulatively 37 534 cases, with 34 981 recoveries (93.2 percent recovery rate) and 1 551 deaths.

Currently, the country has vaccinated 269 732 (1st dose) and 34 969 (2nd dose).

Due to the strong surveillance system that was put in place following school outbreaks that were experienced in 2020, the Ministry of Health and Child Care has managed to pick cases that are being recently reported in a few schools.

The Ministry of Health and Child Care would like to reassure the public and parents of the infected and affected learners that these outbreaks are under control and that measures have been put in place to curb further spread of the disease.

All the affected school children and teachers have mild disease and are expected to recover soon.

The following are measures that the Ministry of Health and Child Care has put in place:

  1. Testing of all pupils and staff in the affected schools is being done to ensure all cases are identified early to avoid further spread;
  2. The infected are being treated and isolated;
  3. Contact tracing is being done, with the contacts being quarantined and closely monitored;
  4. Vaccination of at-risk populations surrounding the schools is on-going;
  5. Health education and engagement of surrounding communities is also on-going;
  6. Training of Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education staff on how to prevent and manage outbreaks in learning institutions is also on-going;
  7. Distribution of sanitisers and face masks is being done in the affected communities.

Following up on the last Covid-19 lockdown regulations, the Government had indicated that, those schools who break COVID-19 regulations will be shutdown. The Government will not hesitate to act upon these measures.

Government will implement targeted lockdowns for schools that do not follow the COVID-19 regulations.

Once again, the strong COVID-19 surveillance system that the Government has put in place in schools has enabled the Ministry of Health and Childcare to detect outbreaks early and control them in a timely fashion and hence prevent the spread of COVID-19 to surrounding communities.

At this point, we would also want to inform the public that with immediate effect all residents of border towns are going to be prioritised for vaccination. These include:

  1. Beitbridge (26 000)
  2. Kariba (15 000)
  3. Mutare (126 531)
  4. Plumtree (25 000)
  5. Chirundu (2 057)
  6. Nyamapanda (3 240)

Successful border posts vaccination campaigns will see the Ministry of Health and Child Care vaccinating a target of 197 828 people. This population excludes Victoria Falls (26 000 people) population which was vaccinated.

Source - Dr Constantino Chiwenga