Thu, 28 May 2020

Several people have been diagnosed with the coronavirus in KwaZulu-Natal after coming into contact with a 45-year-old teacher who died of Covid-19.

The teacher, from Platt Drive Primary in Isipingo, south of Durban, died on Tuesday after testing positive about a week ago, according to the Department of Education.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize confirmed the woman's death as the fifth known case during a press briefing at the Durban port on Tuesday.

A day after she died, the education department said that several people close to her had also been infected with the virus.

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Department spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said another teacher from the same school had also tested positive.

"All those who may have come into contact with the deceased are advised to present themselves for testing."

He said a 14-year-old pupil related to one of the two teachers, in Grade 9 at Ogwini High School in Umlazi, also tested positive.

"The family of one of the teachers has also tested positive and arrangements have been made to trace all those who may have come into contact with the deceased and the immediate family members."

Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga and the KwaZulu-Natal MEC for education Kwazi Mshengu conveyed their condolences to the family of the teacher.

Mshengu said he was saddened by the news of the passing of the teacher. He called for extra caution during the Covid-19 outbreak.

"This is another sad reminder that we all need to take the necessary steps and be extra cautious during this time. We really need to take heed of the government's call for social distancing, hygiene practices and staying safe.

He added: "It can happen to anybody and, for that reason, let's ensure that we do all we can to stop the spread of the virus."

Motshekga said she was devastated at the loss of a teacher.

"We will ensure that the families, colleagues and classmates of the [teacher] receive counselling. Losing teachers at a time like this is particularly hard when they are instrumental in ensuring that learning and teaching continues during the time of the lockdown."

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