By Matabeleland North Correspondent
NTABAZINDUNA: The government has turned John Tallach High School in Matabeleland North province into an official quarantine and isolation centre following an outbreak of coronavirus where more than 100 learners including teachers tested positive.
The school’s quarantine centre has a carrying capacity of 685 people.
A total of 118 pupils who tested positive to the virus, being 21 boys and 97 girls have been isolated at the school.
The rest of the pupils being 277 boys and 234 girls have been quarantined at the school together with 28 teachers and 24 ancillary staff.
The positive cases were discovered a few days ago when five learners started showing symptoms. Health officials were called in and the results came out positive prompting testing on all the students and staff members.
Health Minister Constantino Chiwenga who is also Vice President was quoted in state media saying investigations showed that a pupil travelled to South Africa to attend a funeral and brought the virus back to the school.
Matabeleland North provincial social welfare officer Macnon Chirinzepi said the province now has four quarantine centres.
“Matabeleland North province has four quarantine centres namely Encore Budget Hotel, Phezulu Lodge, Inyathi Training Centre and John Tallach High School. John Tallach High School quarantine centre in Umguza district started operating on 15 November as a response to identified Covid-19 positive cases at the school,” he said.
“An isolation centre was set-up for the management of positive cases and the whole school was made a quarantine centre for all the affected students, teachers and workers who have made contact with the positive cases.”
Health officials in the province said few of the positive pupils have mild symptoms while others are asymptomatic.
Meanwhile, officials also dismissed as a hoax, messages that were circulating on social media that a pupil had succumbed to Covid-19 at the school.
The province used to have Mosi-oa-Tunya High School, Lupane State University and Mabhikwa High School as other quarantine centres which were closed when schools reopened.
Encore Budget Lodge currently has three returnees while two others escaped recently. Inyathi Training Centre has 18 returnees while Phezulu Lodge which was opened for those who opted to pay for their stay currently has zero returnees.