Schools at the epicenter of COVID-19 outbreak in Rehoboth

Niël Terblanché

The Ministry of Health and Social Services has reported a surge in COVID-19 cases in Rehoboth, in the Hardap Region, with schools being the primary hotspots.

As of 8 February 2024, 20 cases have been confirmed, with a significant concentration at Dr Lemmer High School, marking a critical point in the region’s battle against the pandemic.

Dr Benville Platt, the acting regional health director of Hardap, emphasized the necessity of strict adherence to COVID-19 safety protocols in educational institutions.

With 11 individuals having already recovered and 9 still battling active infections, the situation underscores the volatile nature of the virus, especially in crowded settings such as schools.

Those, who tested positive, along with their close contacts, are undergoing isolation or self-quarantine at home, with regular testing being conducted in accordance with national COVID-19 guidelines.

The outbreak has prompted a call to action from health authorities, stressing the importance of continuous promotion and enforcement of safety measures including contact tracing and the identification of both symptomatic and asymptomatic cases.

Dr Platt has appealed to the public to remain vigilant, urging teachers and students to practice physical distancing, wear masks, and engage in rigorous handwashing.

In response to the outbreak, Dr Platt’s office has recommended the postponement of all inter-school sporting activities planned for the coming week in Rehoboth, a move aimed at curbing the spread of the virus.

The decision reflects the heightened concern over the recent spike in cases, particularly those linked to educational settings.

The initial cases, which introduced the onset of the outbreak, involved a teacher from Saint Joseph’s Primary School and a Grade 11 learner from Dr Lemmer High School.

This has led to a broader call for caution and the reinforcement of COVID-19 protocols across schools in the region.

Walters Kamaya, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Health and Social Services said the Health Directorate’s announcement has put the community on high alert.

Kamaya added that health updates concerning the outbreak will be provided regularly.

The unfolding situation in Rehoboth serves as a stark reminder of the pandemic’s persistent threat and the critical need for continued vigilance and compliance with health guidelines to safeguard the well-being of students, teachers, and the wider community.

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