GOVERNMENT says 332 new COVID-19 infections have so far been reported at learning institutions, but most of the cases were asymptomatic, obviating the need to close schools.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
This was said by Defence minister Oppah Muchinguri, who is also the chairperson of the COVID-19 inter-ministerial taskforce, at a post-Cabinet media briefing. She said the number of infections was minute given that there were 4,5 million learners and 121 272 teachers in the country.
Muchinguri said the country had recorded 10 547 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 8 698 recoveries recorded, which placed the national recovery rate at 82%, with 281 fatalities.
She also said of concern was the increase in the number of new cases detected, with 239 cases in the past week.
“In learning institutions, a total of 332 COVID-19 cases were reported and the majority of these are asymptomatic, isolated and being monitored by rapid response teams in the respective provinces,” Muchinguri said.
“Cabinet also wishes to reassure the public that the total number of infected learners and teachers out of a population of 4,5 million and 121 272 respectively, is very low. The environment at schools will continue to be monitored as previously undertaken.”
She added: “We continue to urge the need for responsible reporting in this regard. The nation is further reassured that the ministries of Primary and Secondary Education and Health and Child Care will continue to strengthen the implementation of standard operating procedures at schools and public transport spaces in order to curb the increase in new infections.”
While government insisted that there was no need to panic over COVID-19, Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals yesterday, however, issued a statement to the effect that it had suspended visiting due to rising infections in the country.
“We suspended all the visiting times due to the surge in the number of COVID-19 local infections and an increase in reported cases within our institution. This measure has been necessitated by the need to protect in-patients, staff members and visitors,” the hospital said in a statement.
However, next of kin shall be allowed in the ward for updates on the patient’s progress and any other requirements.
In another development, government reduced operating hours for businesses, from 8pm to 6:30pm.
“Every supermarket, food retail store, fuel outlet, hunting safari operator, professional hunter and non-essential business shall open not earlier than 0800hrs and close not later than 1830hrs on every business day.”
Restaurants are now required to open not earlier than 8am and close not later than 8pm on every business day. Meanwhile, Finance minister Mthuli Ncube told journalists at the briefing that there were plans to increase salaries of civil servants under the new government policy, the National Development Strategy Phase One, but did not give details