Thandeka Moyo-Ndlovu, Senior Health Reporter
ACTING President Dr Constantino Chiwenga, who is also the Minister of Health and Child Care, has extended the country’s lockdown by further two weeks, saying schools’ opening may be scheduled after the period lapses depending on the prevailing Covid-19 situation.
In a statement, Dr Chiwenga said schools and parents will be given a week after the two-week lockdown to prepare for schools’ opening if the environment is conducive.
He encouraged members of the public to continue wearing face masks, sanitise, wash hands with soap and to avoid crowds and gatherings.
As of Thursday, Zimbabwe had 225 084 confirmed cases, including 203 308 recoveries and 5 222 deaths.
To date, a total of 4 192 768 people have received the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, while 3 216 258 have received the second.
“The Acting President, Hon General (Rtd) Dr CGDN Chiwenga has extended the Covid-19 national lockdown by a further two weeks. Schools shall be given at least one week after the next two weeks’ lockdown extension, to put preventive public health measures in place before the commencement of the general school calendar depending on the prevailing Covid-19 situation at that time,” he said in a statement.
“Teachers and students will be required to wear face masks while in class. All eligible teachers and students are encouraged to be vaccinated for Covid-19 before the opening of schools.”
Dr Chiwenga urged law enforcement agents to conduct regular assessments of compliance in learning institutions at least on a weekly basis.
“The provincial taskforce teams are exhorted to strengthen their efforts of mobilising all those eligible to get vaccinated.
Members of the public are encouraged to wear face masks, sanitise, wash hands with soap and avoid crowds and gatherings, especially when not wearing face masks, while having meals and drinks,” he added.
Zimbabwe Teachers Association chief executive officer Dr Sifiso Ndlovu said despite the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic, the opening of schools remains important.
“The opening of schools should be treated as a matter of urgency so that our learners do not lose out. We have missed out a lot and we wish that we open schools quickly,” said Dr Ndlovu.
“The Government should also address our welfare issues so that teachers are well equipped for the opening. We are currently doing salary negotiations and we hope that by the time we open, these issues will be resolved as we need to move on and concentrate on teaching our learners.” – @thamamoe.