Schools to Remain Open Despite Mounting Covid-19 Cases in Schools – Zim Govt
Schools to remain open under enhanced prevention despite rising Covid-19 cases in schools because the number of students infected is very small when looking at the total school enrolment and almost all have no symptoms or have very mild symptoms, says Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa.
Schools reopened early this month for in-class lessons after a prolonged break during the third and worst wave of Covid-19.
Since schools opened, there have been outbreaks at a few schools, with Mberengwa schools reaching a cumulative total of 311. However, all cases are being managed under procedures put in place by health experts in line with WHO protocols.
Speaking after yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said:
"This week the number of cases recorded went up to 1 669. The education sector contributed significantly to this increase. 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.
Lets hope they remain insignificantly low.
"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," said Minister Mutsvangwa.
"Treasury has also consistently provided the much-needed financial resources for the mitigation measures, with $34,2 billion having been availed so far. These measures have, in general, seen a sustained decrease in the number of people in need of hospitalisation for Covid-19, with the country’s hospital bed-occupancy rate decreasing from 6,9 percent the previous week to 5,6 percent this week," said Minister Mutsvangwa.
Minister Mutsvangwa also highlighted the following points:
- public health and social distancing protocols, including social distancing, hand washing, sanitisation and wearing of face masks will be enhanced.
- teachers will be empowered to detect and report suspected cases.
- there will be enhanced awareness campaigns in schools and surrounding communities.
- vaccination of all eligible populations in schools and surrounding communities will be carried out.
"This translates to a national coverage of 34.7 percent for the first dose and 24.3 percent for the second dose.
"Of special note is that the City of Bulawayo, at 52.6 percent for the first dose and 40.3 percent for the second is edging towards herd immunity, along with Matabeleland North where Victoria Falls has already surpassed its herd immunity.