Patrick Chitumba — Midlands Bureau
No pupil has succumbed to Covid-19 since the reopening of schools this term, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Professor Paul Mavima has said.
He said this while addressing National Social Security Authority (NSSA) pensioners' representatives during an engagement forum held in Gweru last week.
"There was a spike in Covid-19 cases in schools soon after reopening," he said.
"The spike was associated with schools reopening, but Government could not close the schools forever. They had to open at some time and so the Government relaxed Covid-19 lockdown induced rules and regulations. One or two teachers lost their life's due to this virus, but we are glad that we haven't lost a child in the school environment. We can't celebrate the loss of the lives because all the lives matter, but Government is doing all it can to mitigate against the spread of the virus in and outside schools."
Prof Mavima said as winter approaches, measures should be put in place to protect the learners and teachers. The Government is implementing measures such as vaccinating citizens to mitigate the spread of the virus.
The second stage of the national vaccination programme against Covid-19 opened in March with teachers, the elderly and people with underlying conditions called in for their jabs. The first stage included frontline health workers, members of the uniformed forces, journalists and staff at ports of entry.
By Saturday, 428 135 people had taken their first jabs, while 92 164 others had taken their second jabs.
Last year, the Government set up standard operating procedures that have proved effective in dealing with Covid-19 outbreaks at learning institutions.
These procedures prohibit hugs, handshakes and sharing of desks in schools.
Break and lunch time must be staggered to prevent crowding by learners while sporting activities are banned.