COVID-19-hit school closes

GOVERNMENT has announced that it will move swiftly to close any school that records COVID-19 cases as part of measures to curb the spread of the virulent pandemic amid reports that the country was under a second wave of the highly infectious disease.

This came as John Tallach, a Presbyterian Church-run boarding school in Matabeleland North province recorded 100 COVID-19 cases, forcing authorities to seal off the institution

Announcing the Cabinet decision yesterday, chairperson of the COVID-19 ministerial taskforce Oppah Muchinguri, who is also Defence minister, said government would not take any chances as cases of new infections were going up.

“I want to say that after we received this report, Cabinet resolved and directed that where we are faced with this situation, the school must be closed immediately and we must make sure that as opposed to rapid testing we have to resort to PCR (polymerase chain reaction), so that we get the correct scientific result,” Muchinguri said.

“Using the standard operating procedures that were put in place for the reopening of schools, the Matabeleland North province COVID-19 rapid response team with the support from the Health and Child Care ministry structures, successfully handled the case of six female learners reported to have tested positive at a boarding school — John Tallach in the province,” she said.

“However, the situation further developed on Friday 13 November, when test results of 105 samples confirmed a further 38 COVID-19 positive cases, and the Health ministry has intervened and it is assisting the Primary and Secondary Education ministry to implement the necessary containment measures,” she said.

Muchinguri said although the COVID-19 cases were going up, government would use scientific methods to determine whether to further tighten the lockdown measures.

“I can confirm the numbers are increasing compared to week 44 which was 109, we are now at 294 and I can also confirm that Bulawayo, Harare, Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South are topping those areas.

“We indeed as a taskforce and Cabinet are very worried about the developments. I want to say that all the provincial taskforces and also the COVID-19 rapid response teams have been placed on full alert and they are monitoring closely the developments that are happening on the ground,” she said.

As at November 16, Zimbabwe had recorded 8 897 cases of COVID-19 which showed that the number of infections kept increasing amid fears that a new wave of the coronavirus might erupt in the country.

Harare remains the hardest hit with 3 339 cases, followed by Bulawayo with 1 821 cases.

John Tallach High School has so far been sealed off as government tries to prevent further spread of the pandemic.



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