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Top school under lockdown after 5 pupils test positive Covid-19

Story Highlights
  • John Tallach orders pupils to stay in dormitories and teachers to stay in cottages for 14 days

ONE of the country’s top schools, John Tallach High School in Ntabazinduna, about 40 kilometres from Bulawayo last week went on “lockdown” after five of its pupils tested positive for Covid-19.

John Tallach High School is a boarding school with over 600 pupils of which about 50 live locally. 

The school is now working with the Ministry of Health and Child Care and no one is allowed in or out of the institution.

According to a communication from the school head, Mr Bonakele Ncube the school has since done Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for all their learners and staff to determine whether they had any more people who had been infected with the virus.

“Following the confirmation of these five, the Ministry of Health and Child Care is carrying out further testing and screening in order to determine the extent of the spread. We believe everything is under control as we continue to work with the Ministry of Health and Child Care and other relevant authorities to contain it.

“The affected learners have been sent home for self-isolation and the school is communicating with them and they are doing very well in their recovery. As we await the PCR results, the safety of all our learners and staff is of uttermost importance and highest priority, and for this reason and also on the recommendation from the Covid-19 task force, lessons have been temporarily suspended with immediate effect and both learners and staff shall quasi isolate in their rooms,” reads part of the letter to parents and guardians.

The quasi isolation began last Monday for a 14-day period.

Director of communications in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Mr Taungana Ndoro said outside the five who had tested positive they had no new cases, with the school implementing the Ministry prescribed Standard Operation Procedure.

“For now, we are fumigating the school as the students, teachers and ancillary staffing are going for the 14-day isolation which started last Monday. In this case no learning is taking place with the students isolated in their hostels. Further, of the tests that have been done we have no new cases but the school will continue working with the Ministry of Health and Child Care to contain the pandemic,” said Mr Ndoro.

Mpilo Central Hospital acting chief executive officer Professor Solwayo Ngwenya who has been vocal over the public’s attitude towards the Covid-19 pandemic stressed the need for officials to tighten lockdown measures.

“I have said it and will continue to say it that we will reach a point where the public themselves will be begging for the lockdown measures to be tightened and we have surely reached this stage, as people are now realising that this pandemic is within us.

“The authorities also have no choice but to tighten measures because the city’s figures are increasing on a daily basis. As we approach the Christmas holidays, we are likely to have a situation that the figures will balloon if nothing is done to address this issue,” said Prof Ngwenya.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Health and Child Care, as at Friday the country recorded 69 new cases and two deaths due to the pandemic. The seven-day rolling average for new cases rose to 42 from 36.

“All 69 are local cases, with the deaths recorded in Bulawayo and Masvingo. A total of 28 new recoveries were reported; the national recovery rate now stands at 93,2 percent with active cases going up to 418,” reads the update.

Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, who is also the Minister of Health and Child Care, has warned of the possibility of the country being hit by a second wave of Covid-19 saying ignorance, denial and wishful thinking could lead to more deaths. He urged citizens to adhere to health safety regulations. ■

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