Tuesday, 23 June 2020 18:24


The Departments of Basic Education and Health are working together to support 204 learners and hostel assistants who have contracted Coronavirus at Makaula Senior Secondary School in KwaBhaca, Eastern Cape.

The Department of Basic Education said a team of doctors and tracers has since been sent to attend to the school.

The department is also lending a helping hand to educators and parents who are affected by the incident.

As of Monday, COVID-19 infections are now sitting at 101 590 in the country and the Eastern Cape is the third most hardest-hit province with 16 895 cases.  

According to the department, many cases have surfaced in schools are as a result of the safety requirements that are being implemented, since the schools partially reopened for grades 7 and 12 on June 8.

“Schools have been urged to follow the standard operating procedures to ensure that appropriate measures are applied to assist all those infected and affected by the virus,” the department added.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga believes that these cases show that many people already had the virus but were unaware until they were screened and identified.

“We will continue to work hard in schools to make sure that we protect our learners, teachers and employees within schools. It is important to work together to ensure that we beat the virus,” she said. 

The department said they were doing everything to make sure that all schools are COVID-19 compliant before it can receive learners.

“What is also important is to ensure that even during school hours and beyond, we stick to the basic requirements of wearing the mask, sanitise, wash hands and keep physical distancing,” said Motshekga.

She has urged members of the community to stop visiting schools, as that also increases the risk for more infections. 

Meanwhile Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, opened the Rev. Dr Elizabeth Mamisa Chabula-Nxiweni Field Hospital in the Eastern Cape to bolster the province’s COVID-19 response.

The field hospital – borne out a partnership between Volkswagen, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, the German development agency and local government – will boast 3 300 dedicated COVID-19 beds once it is fully constructed.

It is currently in its first phase. The beds will be accompanied by oxygen reticulation and innovative ventilation solutions for patients.

Speaking at the launch of the field hospital, Mkhize said South Africa has a long and rich history with Germany.

“VW is a well-known brand in this country. Established in 1946, it is the largest German investment in South Africa and is a major contributor to foreign direct investment, technology transfer and skills development. This project is indeed a reflection of solidarity by two nations to save humanity.

“A great deal of thought has gone into this project. This infrastructure combines the provision of hospital beds as well as the strengthening of the laboratory testing capacity… Many people doubted that we could build field hospitals in a matter of weeks like China.”

Mkhize took a moment to pay homage to Rev Dr. Elizabeth Mamisa Chabula-Nxiweni for “the legacy of excellence and compassion she has embodied in health care”.

He said government, under the leadership of President Ramaphosa, has thus far done their very best to mount an effective response to COVID-19.