Members of Parliament on Wednesday demanded the immediate closure of schools, accusing the government of rushing to bring back children in schools when it was not prepared to handle the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chairperson of the COVID-19 taskforce, Oppah Muchinguri Kashiri, who is also the Defence Minister, had said the government had enough resources to deal with the coronavirus.
However, Norton legislator, Temba Mliswa (Independent) said it was clear that the government does not have enough resource and was making children guinea pigs. Said Mliswa:
The chairperson of the COVID-19 taskforce, Oppah Muchinguri, said there are enough resources to deal with the pandemic, but it is my submission that we cannot continue, and government cannot risk people’s lives because, after school, those children will go and play with other kids.
Why have you gone on to open schools when we do not have enough resources? Why risk when we do not have enough resources?
Leader of government business in Parliament, Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi argued that it is a fact that resources cannot be enough but the government has channelled resources to the Ministry of Health to combat the coronavirus.
Responding to Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya (MDC Alliance) who had asked whether schools had COVID-19 testing facilities, Ziyambi said there are rapid response teams across COVID-19 centres and they can perform PCR [polymerase chain reaction] tests at schools where necessary.
Ziyambi added that where the response teams cannot carry out the PCR tests, the school would have to close so that the virus does not spread to other learners.
Recently, John Tallach Secondary School recorded 100 cases and Herentals College is reported to have recorded four cases, among other schools across the country.