Full statement by the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Jasper Chimedza on the reported outbreak of COVID-19 at Nashville High School in Gweru.
The Ministry of Health and Child Care wishes to inform parents and all concerned stakeholders that there are no cases of COVID-19 at Nashville High School in Gweru.
Investigations conducted at the school today by the Provincial COVID-19 Rapid Response Team led by the Provincial Medical Director have indicated that there are 16 cases of mild flu among the school children who are all boarders.
The school has 192 boarders, 628 day scholars and 38 teachers. All the boarders have been tested for COVID-19 and are all negative.
The 38 teachers were also tested for COVID19 and were also negative. Testing for day scholars is in progress.
The Ministry of Health and Child Care has followed up by telephoning three (3) parents who had taken their children home during the week. None of the parents has reported any of the children as COVID-19 positive.
The pictures that are circulating on social media are those of seven (7) male learners who took pictures of each other basking in the sun while waiting to be taken to Totonga Clinic after they had complained of flu-like symptoms a day ago.
All seven (7) boys were seen at Totonga Clinic and treated for mild respiratory tract infections. The seven (7) are also part of the 192 students seen and tested for COVID-19 today and are negative.
All parents with children at the school are advised to remain calm. The public is being discouraged from circulating unverified reports through social media as they can cause despondency and panic.
In the event that there is an outbreak of COVID-19 at any school, parents are advised not to withdraw their children from the school as this promotes the spread of the infection. Children are isolated or quarantined and treated at the school at no cost to the parents.
As usual, it is important that we continue practising recommended behaviours for the prevention of COVID-19 which include masking up, washing hands with soap and water or sanitizing, not touching the mouth, nose and eyes and avoiding crowds.
Any suspected cases should be reported to the nearest health facility.