JUST IN: Govt speaks out as Covid-19 strikes 100 schools

Primary and Secondary Education Ministry director of communication and advocacy Mr Taungana Ndoro

GOVERNMENT has intensified adherence to Covid-19 standard mitigation procedures in learning institutions amid reports that over 100 schools countrywide have been hit by new infections.

Although lessons have been disrupted in some schools, the writing of public examinations has not been affected, Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education communications and advocacy director, Mr Taungana Ndoro said yesterday.

He said the ministry has since increased collaboration with the health portfolio, which has seen affected learners receiving psycho-social support to ensure that the pandemic does not affect their performance.

In an interview, Mr Ndoro said over 100 schools across the country have recorded Covid-19 cases with over 4 000 recoveries.

“Over 100 schools have recorded Covid-19 cases across the country and working with the Ministry of Health and Child Care we have managed to contain the situation as we have standard protocols that are in place,” he said.

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“These cases might have affected the learning process in some schools but they haven’t affected writing of examinations.

“We have a number of students who are positive but are continuing with their exams.

We have rooms that are set aside to enable them to write their exams and, in the process, there is strict adherence to Covid-19 regulations.

“We understand that being positive might affect some learners so they are being offered psycho-social support at their schools on a weekly basis.”

Mr Ndoro said last year exams were conducted successfully with some pupils who had tested positive for Covid-19 writing under controlled conditions.

On Tuesday, 28 Grade Seven pupils from St Christopher Primary School in Gwanda tested positive for Covid-19.

The learners have been allowed to continue writing their examinations under controlled conditions. Gwanda district medical officer Dr Blessed Gwarimbo said 90 contacts from the school were tested and 28 came out positive.

“We have since advised the school to prepare a room where the positive learners can continue writing their examinations.

All the others who tested positive are asymptomatic,” he said.

Meanwhile, daily Covid-19 cases continue to increase in Zimbabwe with the country recording 4 031 new cases and five deaths as of December 7, according to the Ministry of Health and Child Care.

With the Omicron variant detected in the country, Zimbabwe now has 145 632 confirmed cases, including 129 006 recoveries and 4 718 deaths.

To date a total of 6,7 million people have been vaccinated against Covid-19 with 3,8 million having received their first dose and 2,9 million receiving their second dose as at December 7.

According to the report Harare recorded the highest number of new cases with 1 176 followed by Mashonaland East with 601 and then Mashonaland West with 429. Manicaland recorded 409 cases followed by Masvingo with 356 and then Bulawayo with 342.

In her post Cabinet briefing on Tuesday Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said Government was concerned with the recent jump in daily Covid-19 infections.

The rise in Covid-19 infections comes at a time when Zimbabwe, among other nations, has started to record the new Omicron variant, which the World Health Organisation (WHO) described as a variant of concern given its perceived risks.

— Chronicle

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