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The Ministry of Education has directed that student testing positive for Covid-19 should be detained in schools and kept away from classes for 14 days while assessing the situation.

Secretary for Education, Chikondano Mussa made the directive after noting that some boarding schools sending back learners claiming that government announced closure of school due to escalating cases of the global pandemic in the country.

On Wednesday this week, Minister of Health, Khumbidze Chiponda, who is also the Co-chairperson of the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19, announced new Covid-19 containment measures.

Mussa, therefore, said it is untrue that government announced closure of schools due to the pandemic.

“As advised by the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19, all education institutions remain open. However, all institutions are advised to strictly adhere to all preventive measures and always refer to Schools, Colleges, Universities’ Guidelines on COVID-19 released by the Ministry in September 2020,” she said.

Mussa also encouraged routine disinfection, screening, contact tracing and quarantine of contacts if confirmed case at a learning institution, closure of affected learning institution with a cluster of cases for 14 Days. 

“Screening applies to all personnel working in the learning institutions. Students presenting signs and symptoms but tested negative should be left in their own block and disinfection of all classrooms, hostels and any other facilities should be done within 24 hours. 

Mussa has further ordered boarding learning institutions to temporarily scrap off visitation days, calling the general public to report to the Ministry any learning institution behaving contrary to the guidelines.

Earlier this week, Minister of Health (Khumbidze Chiponda) emphasized that all schools should continue to plan and implement COVID-19 preventive measures to ensure that schools remain safe.

“Monitor school attendance to track student and staff absence and compare against usual absenteeism patterns at the school. Alert local health authorities about large increases in student and staff absenteeism due to respiratory illnesses,” she said.

Cumulatively, Malawi has recorded 37,983 cases including 1,227 deaths with case fatality rate standing at 3.23%). 

Of these cases, 2,479 are imported infections and 35,504 are locally transmitted. 

On COVID-19 vaccination, cumulatively 385,242 and 43,165 people have received the first dose and second dose, respectively. 

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