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Panic, anger as coronavirus hits Harare school

A Harare school recorded 37 Covid-19 cases days before the end of the third term on Friday, sparking a standoff between parents and Health and Child Care ministry officials over the handling of the matter.

Parents were not happy with plans by Roosevelt Girls High to send the affected children to Wilkins Hospital for quarantine amid fears that the outbreak had affected more people as results for 30 students were still pending.

Some of the parents with children that were yet to be tested for the coronavirus took them home on Friday after haggling with school authorities.

Only those that tested positive for Covid-19 and those awaiting results remain under quarantine at the school.

The school was sealed off by the Health ministry officials last Thursday after initial positive Covid-19 results were received.

Tests were conducted after parents of a Form 5 pupil, who fell sick and was hospitalised, reported to the school that their child had tested positive for the disease.

This prompted the school to conduct tests on all her contacts and about 60% of them tested positive.

Taungana Ndoro, the Primary and Secondary Education ministry spokesperson, was not picking calls yesterday and also not responding to questions sent on WhatsApp.

A number of schools around the country have recorded Covid-19 outbreaks raising fears that the institutions were not adequately prepared to handle the situation.

Takavafira Zhou, the Progressive Teachers Union president, said more pupils and teachers were testing positive to the virus.

“Cases of Covid-19 have been reported at Dangamvura Primary in Mutare, with several teachers and pupils testing positive at Chibi High School in Masvingo province yesterday (Friday) while many more are waiting for results today (yesterday)” Zhou said.

“With several students showing signs that resonate with Covid-19, it would be prudent to test all the students at Chibi High rather than allow them to leave the school and infect their family members.”

Zhou added: “Covid-19 has run riot in several boarding schools possibly because students are overcrowded in hostels, share textbooks, and lack of social distance due to limited infrastructure, bloated classes and absence of social distancing.” – Standard

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