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South Africa To Close Schools Again Over Coronavirus Fears

South Africa To Close Schools Again Over Coronavirus Fears
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By Staff, Agencies

South Africa will close schools again over a surge in coronavirus cases that has claimed more than 6,000 lives so far, the president said late Thursday.

In an address to the nation, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said the current academic year will be extended beyond the end of 2020 due to disruptions caused by the pandemic.

"Taking into account the views of the various stakeholders and expert bodies, the Cabinet decided that all public schools should take a break for the next four weeks," Ramaphosa said.

The nation reported more than 13,000 new cases of coronavirus Thursday, taking the tally to above 408,000. A total of 153 people lost their lives to COVID-19 and the death toll has neared 6,100, according to the health officials.

With a population of nearly 58 million, the country has conducted some 2,63 million coronavirus tests so far and the total number of recoveries is over 236,200. The country is the hardest hit in Africa and fifth in world.

Ramaphosa said schools will be closed from July 27 and will reopen on Aug. 24. There are, however, some exceptions. "Specific arrangements will be made for different categories of special schools," he said.

Students of grade 12 will take only a break for one week, while seventh graders will take a two-week break.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga welcomed the school break announcement, urging school communities to continue with their work during the break, according to SABC News.

Ramaphosa thanked all teachers and other staff at schools across the country who have been on the front line during the coronavirus pandemic under difficult conditions.

Schools reopened in South Africa in June when authorities decided to ease coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

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