Boy who died at school did not have Covid-19

Ben Thokozani Thafeni.
Ben Thokozani Thafeni.
Image: Supplied

The pupil from Kokosi Primary School in Fochville who died on Thursday did not have Covid-19, Gauteng health MEC Bandile Masuku said on Sunday.

Masuku and education minister Panyaza Lesufi on Sunday visited the family of Ben Thokozani Thafeni, 13, who died at the local clinic after first going to school on Thursday.

The education department reported on Friday that when Thafeni reported to school on Thursday, the youth brigades detected that he was not feeling well.

Thafeni was immediately taken to an isolation room at the school, and later to a nearby clinic, where he was certified dead on arrival, in the presence of his parent.

Briefing the media on Sunday after meeting the family, Masuku said the first thing the department did after receiving his body was to do a swab on it to ascertain whether the pupil was Covid-19 positive or not.

“The results say that he was negative,” Masuku said.

Lesufi, on behalf of the Gauteng government, extended its condolences to the family, the school community and the Kokosi community as a whole.

“We are indeed in pain. We are in a difficult situation. We share the grief of the family,” Lesufi said.

Masuku said the department was managing a situation that could have led to the problem as it was managing the stigma associated with those who contracted Covid-19.

“It is of great concern ... that we also have to fight the issue of stigma so that we are not forced into situations where we have to be talking about confidential medical conditions and results of individuals, and it is quite sad we are at this point,” Masuku said.

Masuku said the situation was volatile and was brewing to a point where people wanted to stigmatise the family, even the school itself.

“You know that we are managing a critical period of the reopening of schools. It also added more reasons for those who are not supporting the reopening of schools,” Masuku said.

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