South Africa: Coronavirus - Pupil, Teacher Safety a Priority, Says Basic Education Department

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga

The Department of Basic Education says it has been inundated with queries about its plans to deal with potential spread of the virus in schools.

Education Minister Angie Motshekga said the department had redirected all enquiries to the Department of Health, which is leading the interventions into the management of cases.

This follows Grayston Preparatory closing for the day after one of its teachers had contact with the 10 people who recently returned from Italy, including patient zero.

The teacher is reportedly in isolation and the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) contacted the teacher to request testing.

Basic hygiene

The department has reiterated its call for basic hygiene practices, including the washing of hands and covering your mouth when coughing.

"That way, you are more likely to stay safe. We have sent a circular to all our schools to provide guidelines on what to do in terms of general hygiene standards," Motshekga said.

Should there be any announcement relating to Covid-19 in schools or the general public, it would come from the national health department, she added.

The cases

To date, the department has reported seven Covid-19 cases in the country which emanated from a group of 10 people who arrived from Italy on March 1.

The first case was announced on Thursday when a 38-year-old man tested positive.

This was followed by a second confirmed case on Saturday - a 39-year-old woman from Gauteng who was also part of the group.

A third case was confirmed on Sunday - patient zero's wife.

The couple's children, however, tested negative for the virus.

In a briefing on Monday, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced that four more individuals from the group who have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Source: News24

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