HEALTH expert Solwayo Ngwenya cautions that schools, which opened some two months ago for 2021, are now super spreaders for new Covid-19 infections warning a “massive and catastrophic” third wave was looming.
He predicted the situation might be further worsened by the emergence of highly infectious variants which are spreading rapidly causing rapid mass infections.
A medical professor, Ngwenya’s comments come after several learners and teachers particularly in boarding schools tested positive for Covid-19 in the last few days with Sacred Heart primary and high schools in Esigodini in Matabeleland South province having more than 130 students testing positive for Covid-19.
At the end of last month, scores of boarders at Prince Edward School in Harare also tested positive.
“It is impossible to stop the virus spreading in schools as children behave like one family,” Ngwenya told NewZimbabwe.com in an interview.
“New variants spread very rapidly causing mass infections within a short space of time. All this was predicted barely a few months ago. The warnings to not to re-open schools were given and described as not advisable.
“In the last three days the third wave (shows it) is just beginning. As we warned about it, it is appearing suddenly and it will be massive and will be catastrophic. These warnings are already public knowledge as everyone was warned as per the report in your publication.”
Last month, Ngwenya warned of an imminent and a more dangerous Covid-19 third wave coupled with the deadly variants, which would result in an unprecedented spike in fatalities.
Ngwenya attributed the outbreak of the third wave on the need for Zimbabweans, who now largely rely on the informal sector, to generate income for their families, to leave their homes and hustle in crowded markets.
This, Ngwenya said, would force citizens to disregard set Covid-19 regulations and engage in various activities disregarding World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines, and exposing themselves to new infections.
The government has since placed all students, teachers and non-teaching staff at the Roman Catholic-run Sacred Heart primary and high schools under quarantine.
Zimbabwe has witnessed a spike in new infections since the end of the Easter holiday when people gathered and travelled without observing Covid-19 guidelines.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has since warned Zimbabweans not to lose guard as the country marks its 41st independence anniversary.