by Hileni Nembwaya
A 20-YEAR-OLD pupil at Mweshipandeka Secondary School in Ongwediva, Oshana region, tested positive for Covid-19, leaving more than 300 pupils and teachers at the school in panic.
During the lockdown, the pupil allegedly travelled to Walvis Bay, the epicentre of the Covid-19 pandemic in Namibia and returned to resume face-to-face learning at the school on 5 June.
He and six other pupils who had travelled from towns in Erongo region have since been placed under quarantine in isolated rooms in an effort to curb any possible further spread and risks of infections.
He was tested on 22 June and his results came out positive on Monday.
As the news broke out, the health officials in the region conducted further tests on the pupil, as he did not show any Covid-19-related symptoms.
Oshana health director, Johanna Haimene told The Namibian yesterday that the pupil had been in quarantine since he arrived in the region.
She said health officials have been monitoring him as well as others in quarantine.
“He is asymptomic and the results only came out late at night. It’s a very new case in the region and as authorities, we are yet to get together and plan the way forward. As health officials, we plan conducting contact tracing at school, the family and anyone who might have come in contact with him,” said Haimene.
Haimene urged the inhabitants of Oshana region to remain calm and continue to observe the health measures in place while also maintaining social distancing and wearing masks at all times.
So far, there are about 74 people placed under quarantine in Oshana region. Many of them, including truck drivers and Angolan nationals, had recently travelled from Walvis Bay.
Efforts to get comment from the Oshana education directorate proved futile.
School principal Joseph Nangombe could also not be reached for comments as he was in a meeting with other officials at the time.
Pupils at Mweshipandeka Secondary School, who opted to remain anonymous were in panic when The Namibian visited the school, citing that they might also be infected with the virus as many mingled with the pupil in question before he was placed in quarantine.
“We mingled with each other after we returned to school and we also share bathrooms and toilets because he stayed in the hostel before he was put in quarantine. We are afraid, we might also have the virus,” said one of the pupils.
The pupils also allege that there is a lack of awareness about the Covid-19 guidelines among the pupils and a lack of discipline as well.
The situation at the school is grim as teachers and institutional workers wait for education and health officials to direct them on the way forward. The latest case comes a week after a 20-year-old pupil (case number 37) at Mariental Secondary School tested positive after returning from Walvis Bay.
The pupil, who was boarding at the school, is said to have travelled to Mariental on 2 June. The pupil was tested on 15 June.