Govt strengthens COVID-19 monitoring in schools
Harare (New Ziana) – Government has set up Provincial Education and Health Focal Teams to provide Coronavirus rapid response and monitoring in schools following a recent spike in COVID-19 cases in some schools in the country, a Cabinet Minister has said.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said 126 new infections were detected through the school’s surveillance system during the past week.
Among these, she said, were 77 additional cases at Sacred Heart Primary School, Matabeleland South, 46 at George Silundika High School in Matabeleland North and three at Thornhill High School, Midlands.
“The nation is being advised that the Provincial Education and Health focal teams have been successfully trained for the COVID-19 response in schools. Each province has now developed a plan for implementation of enhanced Infection Prevention and Control, Surveillance, Risk Communication and Community Engagement. It is envisaged that compliance with Standard Operating Procedures will be enhanced and buttressed by the standardized approach to the management of outbreaks in schools,” she said.
“Cabinet wishes to restate that any boarding school learners who test positive for COVID-19 should be isolated at their respective schools and should not be taken home. Cabinet reiterates the position that there should be strict adherence to COVID-19 guidelines by all institutions of learning and those found flouting these will be disciplined accordingly.”
Mutsvangwa said government was concerned by the increased lack of compliance to COVID-19 preventative regulations.
She said this included the upsurge in the use of unauthorized passenger-carrying vehicles that are not affiliated to ZUPCO.
“Social distancing and other COVID-19 measures are hardly being observed by passengers in these vehicles. In order to curb this development, the Vehicle Inspectorate Department, the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Traffic Safety Council are enhancing surveillance and enforcement.
“The nation is reminded that all beer halls, bars, pubs and nightclubs remain closed. Bottle stores should strictly open for takeaways, as required by the law. Restaurants are expected to continue to be open for 50 percent sit-in capacity, takeaways and deliveries. Cabinet approved that the operating times for the restaurants be extended to 2100 hours,” she said.
“In light of the general lack of compliance to COVID-19 regulations by citizens, the Law and Order Sub-Committee will step up surveillance and enforcement, including community engagement on the risks associated with such complacency.”