Covid-19 claims life of 46-year-old Durban teacher

31 March 2020 - 20:54 By Yasantha Naidoo
A Durban teacher has died after testing positive for Covid-19.
A Durban teacher has died after testing positive for Covid-19.
Image: 123RF/Jarun Ontakrai

The South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) has paid tribute to a "wonderful" comrade who died on Tuesday due to Covid-19.

Sadtu provincial secretary Nomarashiya Caluza told TimesLIVE that an Isipingo primary school teacher died on Tuesday after being admitted to a Durban hospital for the second time in two weeks. 

Caluza said she had spoken to the principal and the victim's family, who confirmed that she wasn't feeling well and was admitted to hospital for asthma two weeks ago, subsequently discharged and then readmitted. 

"When she was readmitted, she was told that she had tested positive for Covid-19. We are aware that there is a link with another elderly patient who was also positive, but at this stage we can't say for sure what happened," she said.

"The member was a wonderful comrade who was dedicated to her profession. We are so saddened by the loss of one of our dedicated members who died as a result of this virus. We have reached out to her family who are suffering and provided them with support in their time of need."

Caluza said as schools were closed, the teacher did not have contact with any pupils. She confirmed however that another teacher at the school, who had transported her from the hospital, had tested positive for Covid-19. She said this teacher was in isolation and in "high spirits".

She said that it was important for the community to realise that there should not be a stigma around the coronavirus.

"We need to be responsive to the pandemic and how it spreads and practise social distancing and the other advice that the department of health is advising.

"Understandably there has been panic among some people, but we are here to support the affected and infected. It is important that we all stand together and respond with a unified and solid fight against the virus."

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize announced in a briefing in Durban on Tuesday evening that the KZN death had "happened a few hours ago". 

"She is a 46-year-old lady admitted with hypertension and chronic asthma, and tested positive in the process.

"We send our condolences to her family," he added.