The number of pupils who tested positive for Covid-19 at an Eastern Cape school has risen from 98 to 102, with one teacher also testing positive.
At the weekend, about 500 pupils at Ethembeni Secondary School in Burgersdorp were quarantined because of the fear over the rapid spread of the viral disease. So far, the authorities have blamed failure to observe social distancing and not wearing of masks as the reasons for the outbreak at the school with about 933 pupils.
On Monday, the Eastern Cape department of education officials visited the school in Mzomhle township. Departmental spokesperson Loyiso Pulumani said the number that was announced earlier was only for grade 10-12 pupils who were tested between Monday and Wednesday last week.
“We got the results of the grade 8 pupils back which have increased the number [of positive cases]. Those who tested positive have been isolated at a centre in Aliwal North. At the moment things are back to normal at the school which was closed on Thursday and Friday for deep cleaning. Also the grade 12 learners who tested positive for Covid-19 are continuing with their exams at the centres,” he said.
Aliwal North is a major town in the district, about 60km north of Burgersdorp.
Pulumani said it came to their attention that a number of pupils who tested positive were from an informal settlement and that some frequent local taverns where social distancing and the wearing of masks are not observed.
The authorities also said the information they got is that the outbreak at the school was ignited by two pupils who had earlier tested positive for Covid-19 but failed to alert the school. The two pupils were therefore to mingle with the other learners, leading to the swift spread of the virus at Ethembeni Secondary.
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