Prof. Salim Abdool Karim, Chairperson of the COVID-19 Ministerial Advisory Committee, says teachers do not have an increased risk of being infected with COVID-19 during school than the general population.
This as the Congress of South African Students (Cosas) organised a national shutdown on Monday to have private schools closed.
Last week, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a four-week break for public schools, which excluded private schools.
Prof. Karim, says supermarket employees and health workers have a higher risk of getting infected in the workplace than teachers. He made the analysis based on COVID-19 data from the Gauteng province.
He says that in 98% of schools where teachers were infected with COVID-19, there were no reported cases in learners.
“There’s no strong case to be made in that teachers are at higher risk. If you think that teachers are at higher risk, then you shouldn’t open any business because everybody is at that same kind of risk,” says Prof. Karim.
There has been a public outcry against the opening of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic, with reported cases in schools across South Africa.
Listen to the full podcast with Prof. Karim below:
South Africa recorded 11 233 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, bringing the cumulative number to 445 433.
Gauteng still accounts for the highest number of cases provincially with 160 154 confirmed cases, accounting for 36% of the country’s total cases.
The country has recorded 114 new COVID-19 related deaths, bringing total deaths to 6 769. Seven of these are from Eastern Cape, 29 from Gauteng, 12 from KwaZulu-Natal, 30 from Western Cape, 34 from Limpopo and two from Northern Cape.
The Western Cape still accounts for the most deaths provincially, having recorded 2 875 COVID-19 related deaths.