The government of South Africa has ordered the closure of public schools in the country for four weeks from next Monday as part of measures to combat a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country.
South Africa is the fifth-highest hit in the world, the country has recorded over 400,000 coronavirus cases and 6,000 deaths
Older students in primary and secondary schools returned to schools on 6 July.
While announcing the order on Thursday, President Cyril Ramaphosa said it was important to ensure that schools did not become sites of transmission at a time when COVID-19 cases in the country are rising at one of the fastest rates in the world.
“Taking into account the views of the various stakeholders and expert bodies, cabinet has decided that all public schools should take a break for the next four weeks,” President Ramaphosa said.
He said the current academic year will be extended beyond the end of 2020 as a result of the disruptions caused by the pandemic.
We have taken a deliberately cautious approach to keep schools closed during a period when the country is expected to experience its greatest increase in infections,” he said.
According to reports, almost half the country’s total number of deaths has been reported in the Western Cape Province.
The majority of confirmed COVID-19 cases are however in Gauteng province, the country’s financial hub and epicentre of the pandemic.