WHO warns against reopening schools


The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned against the reopening of schools while the number of Coronavirus cases is rising at an alarming rate in societies and communities.

The call comes at the time when many countries including South Africa, Zimbabwe and United States are also preparing for the reopening of schools amid a spike in the infection rate.

Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday, WHO’s director of Health Emergency Programme Michael Ryan said the best time to reopen schools is during low community transmission.

“There is an issue around how much and to what extent children participate in transmission. There are real issues around how schools can be reopened safely, but the best and safest way to reopen schools is in the context of low community transmission that has been effectively suppressed by a broad based comprehensive strategy.”

“We can’t move from let’s deal with the schools and then we all deal with that for a week or two and let’s deal with the workplace or let’s deal with infections in hospitals or long term care facilities. This is playing whack a mole.

“We have got to focus on a comprehensive long term strategy that focuses on everything at one time. But we can turn schools into yet another political in this game. It’s not fair for our children.”

“So we have to look at this carefully, in the light of the transmission in any given country or any given setting and we have to make decisions that are based on the best interest of our children, be it their educational or their health interests,” said Ryan.

He further said that schools can open safely only if the virus is suppressed in societies and communities.

Some schools across the world were shut down after learners and teachers tested positive after the reopening of schools.

Globally, more than thirteen million people have been infected with the virus while more than half a million have died.

Malawi closed schools in March when there were zero cases and now cases have reached 2610, including 43 deaths and 1005 recoveries. Over 2,00 cases have been recorded in the past 30 days.