22 teachers dead

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TWENTY-TWO teachers in Eastern Highlands died from Coronavirus (Covid-19) in two months (September to November), provincial education director Albert Wesley says.
“Twelve were primary school teachers, three elementary teachers, four secondary and three from technical schools,” Wesley added.“The deaths were scary, forcing us to shut down schools,” he lamented.
“If I had taken no action, teachers in the province could have been wiped out.”
Wesley was speaking to teachers, school board members at Gama Lutheran Primary School at the opening of a four-in-one teachers duplex and students’ e-library building on Monday about the Covid-19 impact.
He said schools resumed classes after a three-week lockdown last month.
“However, the attendance by teachers and students was low,” Wesley said.
“It is understandable as life is priority.
“When full normalcy is restored in schools by early next year, teachers will provide remedial lessons for those absent and the lessons that they missed out during the Covid-19 surge.”
Besides the deaths, Eastern Highlands health authority chief executive officer Dr Joseph Apa also confirmed that a total of 168 people died from the highly infectious and deadlier Covid-19 Delta variant in the past two months. Dr Apa said the Covid-19 surge started on Sept 3 and ended last week, claiming many lives and impacted the local economy and the people.
“The surge in infections and deaths had us reeling in efforts to stop the surge,” he said, adding that only four Covid-19 patients remained in the hospital isolation wards today.
He said only two patients were warded with the Covid-19 in the last two days.
Dr Apa said the deaths had jolted the people to adhere to the New Normal public health protocols that helped stop the surge.
On the back of the Covid-19 pandemic and the Delta threat, the Government is also preparing to face a possible arrival of the new global Covid-19 Omicron variant.
National Pandemic Response Controller David Manning, who is also Police Commissioner, assured the nation that a careful watch was in place for Omicron.
Health Minister Jelta Wong and deputy pandemic response controller Dr Daoni Esorom were not available for comment on the status of the pandemic, especially in Eastern Highlands.