Covid-19: Zimbabwe reopens schools

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Zimbabwe is reopening schools following a decline in new Covid-19 infections in the country.

The new school term was supposed to begin on June 28 but was put on hold for two months following a surge in new infections and deaths in what became the deadliest wave of the pandemic since it started last year.

Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa told journalists that examination classes will start face-to-face lessons on August 30 followed by non-examination classes on September 6.

“The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education met with teacher organisations and deliberated on the safe re-opening of schools, among many other issues,” Ms Mutsvangwa said.

“Noting with satisfaction the preparations for the resumption of classes in schools, Cabinet is advising that schools will re-open on the 30th of August 2021 for examination classes and on the 6th of September 2021 for non-examination classes.

“As such intercity and intracity transportation for learners will be allowed during school re-opening periods subject to close monitoring by law enforcement agencies.”

The government also allowed restaurants to re-open for sit-in customers that have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

A fortnight ago, churches were allowed to open their doors for vaccinated congregants only.

The latest tough lockdown measures have been in place since June when the deadly third wave of Covid-19 hit.

Ms Mutsvangwa said the government is intensifying its Covid-19 vaccination programme to allow for further re-opening of the economy.

“The government has so far acquired 13 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, out of the 20 million required in order to achieve herd immunity,” she said.

“On the advice of scientists, the vaccination programme will be extended to the 14-to-17-year age group.”

Zimbabwe has set a target of vaccinating 60 percent of its population or 10 million people to reach herd immunity.

2.4 million Zimbabweans had received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine by August 25, while 1.5 million were fully vaccinated.

The disease has killed 4,338 Zimbabweans since last year, with the country recording 123,711 confirmed Covid-19 cases.

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