Covid-19 outbreak in schools ‘insignificant’, not enough to force shutdown – govt

Zimstar News

Government says the current surge in fresh Covid-19 infections in schools will not force another closure of the learning institutions.

According to authorities, by Thursday this past week, there were 450 confirmed cases among learners countrywide since schools reopened for a combined second and third terms some three weeks ago.

The country also recorded 1 669 fresh cases this week with schools accounting for the majority of the cases.

The high incidence has caused panic among both teachers and parents whose children are enrolled in boarding schools.

But government said Tuesday the cases being recorded were mild and did not warrant any cause to shut down the learning institutions again.

Said Information Minister Monica Monica Mutsvangwa at a post-cabinet media briefing Tuesday, “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 Coordinated Prevention and Management of COVID-19 at All Learning Institutions in Zimbabwe.

“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.”

Among the measures set to be employed by government are, enhancement of surveillance and contact-tracing at schools and in the surrounding communities; increasing on-site COVID-19 testing of all suspected cases, contacts and surrounding communities; isolation and management of all COVID-19-positive cases and quarantining of those exposed.

Government says it will also ensure the “restriction of movement into and out of the affected schools until the outbreaks have been controlled; enhancement of public health and social protocols, including social distancing, hand washing, sanitization and wearing of face masks; as well as empowering teachers to detect and report suspected cases.

Government pledged to also ensure the enhancement of awareness campaigns in schools and surrounding communities; and vaccination of all eligible populations in schools and surrounding communities.