Michael Magoronga, Midlands Correspondent
THE Kwekwe District Taskforce on Covid-19 is contemplating suspensions of lectures at Kwekwe Polytechnic following the death of a lecturer and a surge in positive covid-19 cases recorded at the learning institution.
Cases at the institution, whose term was supposed to end on July 30 have risen to 48 with 18 new cases recorded on Tuesday.
Kwekwe city has been under a localised lockdown since May after the detection of the Indian variant in the mining town.
On Tuesday, cabinet approved the extension of the lockdown by a further two weeks as cases continue surging.
The town has 179 active cases and 21 deaths and a cumulative 487 positive cases.
Chairperson of the district taskforce, Mr Vitalis Kwashira confirmed the death of the lecturer adding that they had recommended that the institution be closed to allow proper management of the cases.
“We have written to the relevant departments and we also recommended that the college be temporarily closed so that we can be able to conduct contact tracing. The idea is that if we close down the place, we are able to isolate those who tested positive at the institution. It is almost impossible to manage the situation if lessons are being conducted,” said Mr Kwashira.
Most of the students at the institution live in the neighboring suburbs of Msasa and Mbizo, further intensifying the risk of the spread of the virus.
“As it is, it’s like we are seeding the virus if we let the institution open because most of the students go to their places of residence in the community whilst some learn from their homes. This is a recommendation we are still awaiting confirmation,” he said.
He said results of the tests to determine which variant claimed the lecturer’s life were still being processed.
Kwekwe Polytechnic Principal, Mr Evans Musara said it was prudent to temporarily suspend lectures to allow the sanitization of the college premises.
“I cannot comment on the statistics but the situation is not that good at the institution. Our lives are at risk and I think relevant authorities will guide us with the best way forward. The closure of the college will however allow sanitization of the area and also to arrest the cases that are on the increase,” he said.
Meanwhile, law enforcement agencies in the town have intensified the lockdown as they have blocked access to the CBD and closed down non-essential businesses.
Officer Commanding Kwekwe Chief Superintended Denford Maingire said the decision comes amid a surge in cases and people seemingly disregarding the lockdown regulations.
“We are restricting unnecessary movement as we also try to enforce the lockdown. We are also targeting illegal commuter omnibus operators and illegal beer outlets which have been flouting the regulations. We have thus increased police patrols in both the CBD and the residential suburbs as we try to enforce the lockdown and hopefully reduce the cases,” said Chief Sup Maingire.
Minister in Charge of controlling covid-19 in Midlands Province, Owen Ncube, last week said the government was dismayed by non-compliance to the lockdown by Kwekwe residents and urged law enforcement agencies to be more vigilant.