Coronavirus: Around 755 SA children under 9 have been infected

Coronavirus: Around 755 SA children under 9 have been infected

- Latest Department of Health statistics show that 755 children inSA under the age of nine have been infected with the Covid-19 virus

- As schools prepare to open on the 1st of June, children aged between 10 and 19 account for 1 147 of total Covid-19 cases in the country

- Public behaviour will determine whether infections increase or decrease, says the Health Registrar

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With Grade 7 and 12 learners preparing to return to school on 1 June, latest statistics from the Department of Health show that 755 children under the age of nine are infected with the Covid-19 virus. This number accounts for 2.9% of all cases as the total currently sits at 27 403.

The statistics show that a total of 577 people have died from the Covid-19 virus thus far, with two of those being children. These two deaths include the death of a two-day old baby that became South Africa's first neonatal fatality case earlier in May.

Children aged between 10 and 19 years old account for 1 147 of total Covid-19 cases. Although some paediatricians have said the Covid-19 risk is lower in children, parents remain worried about the safety of those who are returning to school.

READ ALSO: Legal battles loom as political parties, NGOs take government to court

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has been at the receiving end of criticism over the decision to reopen schools amid the pandemic. Several unions and organisations are taking the government to court over the decision to reopen schools as parents fear for the safety of their children. reported that SADTU had encouraged teachers to stay away from work when schools reopened for management staff a few days ago. SADTU cited issues of Covid-19 non-compliance.

As the country prepares to move to lockdown Level 3 on 1 June, Public Health Medicine Registrar at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Dr Velile Ngidi, said that public behaviour would determine whether Covid-19 infections decrease or increase.

Ngidi said:

"We are expecting an increase in transmission but the hope is that people have had time to get used to non-pharmaceutical interventions like hand washing, hand sanitisers, physical distancing that is what we are relying on".

Motshekga said that she wants "effective teaching" by Wednesday, 3 June. It remains to be whether or not parents will send their children to school on 1June when schools reopen.

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