Dar es Salaam,
Schools in Tanzania reopened Monday, with the government saying it is revising its earlier guidelines on curbing the spread of Covid-19.
Health Ministry permanent Secretary Abel Makubi said the government reached a decision to revise the guidelines following a rapid increase in the number of Covid-19 infections globally.
“The Health Ministry has been closely following the Covid-19 outbreak trend within and outside the country and found that the number of patients has been increasing in the recent past, signalling the presence of transmissions in our communities,” Prof Makubi told a press conference in Dodoma.
He said the government revisited its 2020 Covid-19 preventive guidelines to schools, universities and educational institutions and made some improvements on them.
“This guideline is targeting to create a conducive environment [in] the educational institutions including universities, primary and secondary schools, nursery schools and day-care centres before students resume classes,” noted Prof Makubi.
To make that happen, the guideline has considered four areas. These are preparation of a conducive environment in educational institutions before resumption of studies, health examination, public transport to and from school and the learning environment.
He said the Education ministry and other concerned ministries should ensure that all educational institutions install hand-washing facilities.
He added that students and teachers should be educated on how to prevent the spread of the disease.
He said administrations should ensure students and staff observe at least one metre physical distance at all times.
For schools and universities with large numbers of students, he directed them to adopt the shift system.
Use of masks
“The Education ministry should ensure schools and universities prioritise the correct use of masks. Students, teachers, lecturers should put them on at all times,” directed Prof Makubi.
He added that students who are confirmed to be Covid-19 positive should remain at home until they recover.
Prof Makubi on Sunday also said that Tanzania has joined the international Covax facility that helps low income countries to get subsidised Covid-19 vaccines from manufacturers abroad. The country will receive its Covid-19 vaccine doses between December 2021 and January 2022, he added.
At the same time, the Tanzanian government is pondering manufacturing vaccines for Covid-19 and other diseases due to their high demand. This will also cut costs of obtaining the vaccines, Prof Makubi added.
Tanzania has begun steps to build a local factory which will be used to produce Covid-19 vaccines, he said, adding that the country has expertise to manufacture such vaccines.
Additional reporting by Mohamed Issa.