Zimbabwe: Ministry Initiates Contact Tracing After School Closure

30 November 2020

Mashonaland West Bureau

The Ministry of Health and Child Care, which ordered the closure of Chinhoyi High School to non-examination day scholars, has started contact tracing after 57 students tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday last week.

A resolution was also passed for Covid-19 positive and negative examination candidates to sit for their papers from separate rooms.

Examination candidates will be allowed to enter the school's premises, but under strict and rigorous monitoring from health officials.

Of the total number that tested positive, only one is a day scholar, while majority of the remaining are boarding students doing Form Four.

A female student was taken to Mzari Clinic for isolation at the weekend where four Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT) students, who recently tested positive, are being housed.

The 57 students who are asymptomatic are being isolated at the school.

Mashonaland West acting provincial medical director, Dr Gift Masoja, said effective contact tracing was being carried out.

"Contact tracings are continuing until we are sure that the children and the community are safe," he said. "I don't have the figures of those that were traced and tested, but our team is working hard.

"On Wednesday, we resolved to cut off the school from day scholars, although examination candidates will be allowed. This, however, meant that we had to intensify our response. More nurses and environmental health officials have since been deployed at the school to effect response and monitoring.

"We have 57 students who tested positive and they are being isolated at the school's dormitories."

Dr Masoja said positive students were going to write examinations in separate rooms from Covid-19 negative students.

"We have noticed that the school is facing serious water challenges, especially in first floor dormitories," he said. "A team has been assigned to engage the municipality of Chinhoyi to address the problem.

Mashonaland West provincial education director, Mr Gabriel Mhumha, said although it was worrisome that Chinhoyi High School had recorded positive cases, government and the private sector had earlier provided schools with infrared thermometers, while production of sanitisers and face masks at most schools, including Chinhoyi and Chikangwe High Schools, had provided cushioning strategies to the education sector.

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