Minister of Health Khumbize Chiponda has confirmed that the closure of schools will be extended until at least March to tackle to spread of COVID-19.

President Lazarus Chakwera three weeks ago declared a state of national disaster in response to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases with restrictions which include school closures, a night-time curfew, and no gathering over 50 people.

Chiponda said on Thursday — during a briefing to give an update on the COVID-19 situation — that after an assessment that the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 conducted, they have agreed that all schools should remain closed for another two weeks and that all students who were still on campus must return home.

She added that after two weeks another assessment will be done to confirm if it will be safe for schools to open.

Benedicto Kondowe, Executive Director for the Civil Society Education Coalition, said government should devise a plan that allows some students to continue with their education.

“Schools were closed for not less than seven months in the first wave of COVID, and registered unprecendetented number of teenage pregnancies in excess of 40,000. And that’s why we are saying ‘Could there be a mechanism of mitigating and containing the virus while the schools are still in sessions?”, he asked.

By Wongani Chiuta

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