23 teachers and five pupils positive for Covid-19 in KZN
At least 23 teachers and five pupils in KwaZulu-Natal have tested positive for Covid-19.
This is according to premier Sihle Zikalala, who addressed the media in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday following the opening of the Royal Show Grounds Field Hospital, which boasts 254 isolation beds.
Last month President Cyril Ramaphosa visited the facility for an inspection as part of his assessment of the province's response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Zikalala said 28 schools reported Covid-19 cases, plaguing the resumption of the academic school year in the province.
"Of 28 schools affected, 14 will be reopening on Monday after all safety protocols have been followed. These include testing of all contacts and decontaminating the schools. The remaining schools are following the same process and are expected to resume schooling during the course of the week."
He said the provincial department of education continued to grapple with the challenges of water provision and sanitation in different parts of the province.
He revealed that in the King Cetswayo and Umkhanyakude districts, there had been reported cases of communities helping themselves to water provided to schools to such an extent that school tanks were left empty.
"We have also seen disturbing instances where communities will stop water tankers from delivering water to schools, demanding that they start by sending water to communities."
Zikalala lashed out at appointed service providers for poor workmanship, citing instances when water tanks were put on the ground and chemical toilets were in "a very dehumanising state".
"The department has assured me that such poor service will not be paid for. It is moving towards investigating the possibility of blacklisting the service provides involved in the shoddy work."
Several KwaZulu-Natal schools remained closed on Monday morning due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Apollo Secondary School in Chatsworth, south of Durban, and Deccan Road Primary School in Pietermaritzburg were closed because teachers had tested positive for the deadly coronavirus.
Deccan Road Primary's governing body chairman, Rumen Maistry, told TimesLIVE on Monday morning the school was shut.
"We received a formal letter from the department to remain shut as an educator had tested positive. At this stage, we are receiving results of the tests in batches. We have received about one third of the results. They were negative," he said.
Maistry was at the school on Monday morning to supervise sanitisation of the premises.
He said he did not know when the school would reopen.
KwaZulu-Natal remains the fourth-worst coronavirus hotspot in the country with 3,874 confirmed Covid-19 cases, 69 deaths and 1,810 recoveries.
Zikalala said eThekwini remained the hotspot in the province with 2,254 confirmed cases, 54 deaths and 1,209 recoveries.
He said at least 358 health-care workers in the province had tested positive for Covid-19.
"We are now in the actual battle zone. The rise in infections are a clarion call to arms. All of us must now take our defence weapons to the battle. Let us wear our masks at all times and not use them to cover our chins. Let us sanitise regularly, let us keep social distance," he said.