Schools reopening deferred

Schools reopening deferred

File picture. Ngezi High school pupils wait to be picked up by their guardians at Robert Mugabe Square in Harare . — Picture: Innocent Makawa

Government has indefinitely deferred re-opening of schools that had been scheduled for July 28 on the backdrop of a spike in positive Covid-19 cases that has seen the country breach the 1 000 mark this week.

According to latest statistics the country has 1 034 up from the 734 cases that were recorded on Tuesday last week.

This was announced by Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa this evening while presenting the 24th Cabinet Meeting Decision Matrix.

The deferment of schools re-opening is part of measures adopted by Cabinet to slow down the spread of the virus. President Mnangagwa is expected to address the nation soon detailing some of the specific measures to contain the spread.

This week’s cabinet meeting has resolved that the re-opening of schools shall be deferred pending a review of the situation, while the writing of examinations continues.

Cabinet also approved that current lockdown restrictions be tightened, while localised lockdowns are introduced in hotspot areas and any further re-opening of the economy be halted.

Addressing a post-cabinet media briefing in Harare on Tuesday evening, Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Senator Monica Mutsvangwa said:

Cabinet is disturbed by the spike in COVID-19 locally transmitted cases and the number of deaths recorded. To curb the increase in transmissions as well as deaths from COVID-19, the following measures were adopted:

(a) that the current lockdown restrictions will be tightened, while localised lockdowns are introduced in hotspot areas and further opening up of the economy is halted;

(c) that the re-opening of schools shall be deferred pending a review of the situation, while the writing of public examinations continues;

(d) that private schools that have already opened without permission will be penalized;

(e) that Government shall have the sole responsibility for inter-city travel for those that really require to travel especially to seek medical attention; and

(f) that two (2) buses will be availed to transport those that test positive from Beitbridge to their respective provincial isolation centres.

Cabinet further noted with concern that some members of some religious sects have gathered in their numbers in Manicaland Province for their yearly retreat, in contravention of COVID-19 regulations that prohibit gatherings of more than fifty (50) people.

This poses high risk to the spread of COVID-19. Accordingly, Cabinet directed that the gathering should disperse forthwith.

Let me also take this opportunity to report that His Excellency the President will announce comprehensive measures on the way forward regarding the country’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

This comes after the cumulative number of confirmed coronavirus cases surpassed 1 000 on Monday, with the number of people who have died due to COVID-19, the illness caused by SARS-CoV-2, the new coronavirus rising to 19.

There has also been a worrying rise in the number of local transmissions of the virus, with some of the cases being nurses working at some of the largest public hospitals in the country.