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Concern over coronavirus infections among children

Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu said several extra measures were being taken to prevent children and the elderly from contracting the virus.

Picture: 123rf.

JOHANNESBURG - Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu on Wednesday said she was concerned about the number of new coronavirus (COVID-19) infections among children.

Government has confirmed that five children are among the 85 confirmed cases in South Africa.

Confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa

On 17 March, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced that the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa stood at 85.

Most of them are younger than six years.

As part of government's state of disaster plan, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that all public and private schools be shut from Wednesday, which includes pre-schools and creches.

These SA borders and ports to be closed

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that 35 of South Africa's land borders and two sea ports would be closed from 18 March 2020 in order to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Zulu said several extra measures were being taken to prevent children and the elderly from contracting the virus.

“Any infection in the vulnerable, their system is lower than most so we are concerned.”

In many instances, grandparents now have to step up and take care of children as schools have been shut until after the Easter holiday break.

The minister said extra precautions needed to be taken to protect the elderly from contracting the coronavirus.

“Making sure that the elderly in old age homes and centres aren’t into serious stress.”

With an already overstrained system, government has called on the public to cooperate with the president's plan by enforcing prevention measures, keeping schools shut for the next few weeks.

To track the latest developments around the coronavirus both in South Africa and abroad, click on this live status report from Strategix.

(Edited by Refilwe Pitjeng)