98 teachers, 1,800 students in S. Africa test positive for Covid-19

Saturday June 13 2020

A pupil in Johannesburg has his temperature measured as he enters the school premises on June 1, 2020. Children in South Africa began returning to classrooms on June 8, 2020 after an initial delay. PHOTO | MARCO LONGARI | AFP


At least 98 teachers and 1,800 learners in South Africa’s Covid-19 epicentre province, the Western Cape, have tested positive for the Covid-19 coronavirus, forcing 20 schools to close.

The schools will be disinfected this week.

The southern African nation allowed schools to reopen from June 1.

Education MEC Debbie Schafer, however, said the cases had not spiked due to the reopening of schools.

“Of this number, 1,537 cases were reported before the schools were reopened,” Ms Schafer said.

The provincial Education Department had spent R280 million (US$16.3 million) on hygiene supplies. Pupils and teachers were given two masks each, while schools were equipped with digital thermometers, hand sanitiser, liquid soap, and cleaning supplies.


Opposition leader Mmusi Maimane, a former Democratic Alliance leader and now fronting civil society group One South Africa Movement, said it is still premature for children to be back at school.

With the country having recorded almost 55,421 coronavirus cases and 1,210 deaths by midday Thursday as per government statistics, Mr Maimane feels the environment is not yet conducive for a return to classrooms.

“President Cyril Ramaphosa has failed to respond to our letter and petition. We gave him 48 hours. He is leaving us with no choice. We have engaged Advocate Dali Mpofu and we will meet this government in court. We will not gamble with our children’s lives,” he said.