South Africa shuts schools again due to increase in COVID-19 cases

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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has again announced the closure of schools for a month even as the nation’s COVID-19 tally crossed four-lakh mark.

Speaking to the nation on Thursday night, Ramaphosa said according to the the latest figures there are now 4,08,052 infections in South Africa.

The president said while around 6,000 people have died due to the virus, 2,29,175 coronavirus patients have recovered.

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The government had to balance the concerns over health and welfare of educators and learners with the impact that closing of schools would have on the future of an entire generation, Ramaphosa said. Schools will be be closed again for a four-week break, July 27 to August 24, for students of all but two classes.

“I am aware that this arrangement will disappoint many learners who want to be back at school and may cause inconvenience and difficulty for many families who need to make alternative childcare arrangements.

We ask you to do this because we believe it is important to ensure that schools do not become sites of transmission at a time when infections are rising fast,” Ramaphosa said.

During the address, the South African president also talked about the misuse of the COVID-19 funds, warning that people involved in the corruption would be swiftly brought to book.

“Increasingly, we are hearing allegations about fraudulent UIF claims, overpricing of goods and services, violation of emergency procurement regulations, collusion between officials and service providers, abuse of food parcel distribution and the creation of fake non-profit organisations to access relief funding,” he said.

Ramaphosa said every instance of corruption must be thoroughly investigated and those responsible for the wrongdoing should be prosecuted and stolen monies recovered.

The president then said he had signed into law a proclamation authorising the Special Investigating Unit to investigate any unlawful or improper conduct in the procurement of any goods, works and services during or related to the national state of disaster in any state institution.

“To ensure that action is taken speedily, I will be getting interim reports on investigations every six weeks,” Ramaphosa said.

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