Search on for 16 Covid-19 positive pupils who evaded school quarantine

(Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)
(Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)
  • The 16 are part of a group of 105 who escaped after getting tested for Covid-19.
  • One of the 16 boys is accused of infecting 12 other boys at a soccer tournament held at a local village.
  • A total of 200 Eastern Cape schools remain closed due to Covid-19.

A group of 16 pupils with Covid-19 evaded quarantine at Makaula Secondary School in KwaBhaca, where a total of 204 learners and teachers have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Eastern Cape education MEC Fundile Gade told News24 on Tuesday that the 16 learners escaped last week while the school was in the process of transporting learners to three quarantine sites.

He said they were part of a group of 105, who escaped from the school grounds.

"Some of these learners are coming from other provinces; we are busy working on collection of the data for them, so we can bring them back to the province for quarantine."

Gade said one of the boys was reportedly seen at a soccer tournament recently and is believed to have infected 12 boys.

Gade was speaking during a press briefing organised by Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane at the Bhisho Massacre Memorial site.

The group remains missing, and Gade said the education and health departments have launched a hunt for the pupils.

A total of 284 pupils of the school were tested, and 204 people, including staff, were confirmed to be Covid-19 positive, said Gade. 

"The implications are that one of the boys who ran away has infected 12 other boys in a tournament at a nearby village," he alleged.

READ | Eastern Cape education MEC fears 16 runaway pupils will spread coronavirus

Gade also announced that a total of 15 staff members had died of Covid-19 at Eastern Cape schools.

He said eight were teachers, while seven were support staff.

He also revealed that 25 more had died from unconfirmed causes.   

At the briefing, Mabuyane told journalists that 200 Eastern Cape schools are closed due to Covid-19.

He said the schools are part of a total of 291 that were affected by Covid-19 since the reopening of schools on 8 June. 

The schools were closed when the country went into lockdown on 27 March.

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