‘COVID-19 surge won’t force schools closure’

Source: ‘COVID-19 surge won’t force schools closure’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe


GOVERNMENT has resolved to keep schools open despite a surge in COVID-19 cases in schools since early this month.

In a post-Cabinet Press briefing yesterday, Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said although infections had increased, the government felt they were insignificant to warrant schools closure.

“The meeting, however, noted that out of a total school enrolment of 4,6 million, the number of COVID-19 positive cases detected is insignificant. All cases are being well-managed in line with the standard guidelines for the co-ordinated prevention and management of COVID-19 at all learning institutions in Zimbabwe,” she said.

A number of schools have been hit by COVID-19 infections, with teachers claiming the government prematurely reopened schools before creating a conducive environment in learning institutions. However, Mutsvangwa said although they had been an increase in cases, there was no hospitalisation.

“Furthermore, most cases among learners are asymptomatic or have only mild symptoms. Accordingly, Cabinet resolved that schools will remain open. Learners, who are isolated, will be provided with alternative learning
platforms,” she said.

In keeping the schools open, government said it would push to have pupils aged 14 and above vaccinated.

“Government has, therefore, instituted the following measures to contain the COVID-19 surge in schools … enhancement of surveillance and contact-tracing at schools and the surrounding communities, … increasing on-site COVID-19 testing of all suspected cases.

“Restriction of movement into and out of the schools affected until the outbreaks have been controlled. There will be vaccination of all eligible populations in schools and also in the surroundings.”

The new cases as of last week stood at 1 669 while the total active cases of COVID-19 stood at 2 425 as the third wave of COVID-19 recedes.

“As we stand, active cases in the country stand at 2 425, this week the number of cases reported went up to 1 669, the education sector contributed significantly to this increase,” Mutsvangwa said.

Meanwhile, the government has lined up anti-sanctions webinars and interviews to mark the anti-sanctions solidarity day previously characterised by street marches and feasting.

“The activities will also include engagements of the diaspora, diplomatic corps and Sadc missions. Media briefings, interviews and webinars by Zimbabwean ambassadors in their areas of accreditation will be conducted, while statements on the sanctions situation will be delivered during bilateral and multilateral meetings,” Mutsvangwa said.