MORE than 1 100 Covid-19 cases have been detected at schools in KwaZulu-Natal in the last three weeks, according to Premier Sihle Zikalala.
“These numbers are increasing daily, and more learners are testing positive. Sadly, the pandemic has claimed the lives of two 12-year-old schoolchildren, as well as a 9-year-old. The Department of Education is intensifying non-pharmaceutical interventions to reduce the spread of the virus in schools,” said Zikalala.
Zikalala, who addressed the media on the province’s latest developments, said the provincial Department of Education is intensifying non-pharmaceutical interventions to reduce the spread of the virus in schools.
“Cluster [outbreaks] have also been observed in other congregant settings, such as boarding schools, mental health facilities, centres for the visually impaired and old age homes,” said Zikalala.
“KwaZulu-Natal remains the hardest-hit province, with 2 206 people confirmed to have contracted the virus in the last 24 hours, pushing the total to 476 193 since the outbreak.”
Zikalala said the province has registered 216 754 people aged between 18 and 34, of which over 55 302 have been vaccinated.
“This gives us an average of 7 000 vaccinations among this group per day,” he said.
The province has seen a 33% week-on-week increase in new cases and hospital admissions are on the rise.
“The upsurge in cases has moved from Uthukela, Amajuba and Umzinyathi. Currently, the districts that are recording a higher number of cases daily are eThekwini, Umgungundlovu, King Cetshwayo, Zululand, Umkhanyakude and Ilembe. These districts have for the past three weeks had continuously higher numbers, with eThekwini accounting for more than 40% cases daily,” said Zikalala.
In the last week, vaccinations in the province passed the two million mark.
The target is to ensure 7.5 million people are fully vaccinated, Zikalala said.
The programme has been bolstered by including those who are 18 and older, with 216 754 people aged between 18 and 34 registered and 55 302 of them vaccinated since 20 August.
“We would want to emphasise that, in order to defeat Covid-19, vaccination is the obvious key and most important intervention to save lives. Of course, this must be done in conjunction with non-pharmaceutical prevention measures, such as the wearing of masks, regular handwashing or hand sanitising and social distancing,” he added.
“Our vaccination effort is now in high gear. This week, the province [went] above the two million mark in terms of the number of inoculated persons,” he said.
“Our target is to reach 60 000 daily vaccinations, which could help us reach our target of 7.2 million vaccinations by the end of March next year.”
* Inside Education