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Staff Reporter

A Free State teacher has become one of the latest victims in the provincial education department to succumb to the deadly coronavirus.

Education MEC Tate Makgoe wrote on his Twitter page yesterday that the acute respiratory disease had claimed the life of Julius Maruping, a teacher at Gonyane Primary School in Phahameng, Bloemfontein.

“I am saddened by the passing away of Mr Julius Maruping who is a teacher at Gonyane,” said Makgoe.

“He passed away last night (Thursday) due to COVID-19-related (illness). May his soul rest in peace,” he added.

Provincial education Head of Department Advocate Tsoarelo Malakoane previously said in an interview that the education department was one of the worst affected by the disease.

About 42 teachers, four learners and two non-teaching staff are believed to have died due to COVID-19-related complications in the province.

Lejweleputswa district in the northern Free State has been the worst affected in the province, losing at least 16 teachers, three learners and one non-teaching staff member by the end of September last year.

The high death rate has been attributed to the congested living conditions in the mining communities there.

Motheo district, which includes Mangaung Metro, has lost at least 10 teachers and one learner, while in Thabo Mofutsanyana seven teachers and one non-teaching staff member died.

In Fezile Dabi, three teachers died and in Xhariep one passed away.

A total of 872 learners are said to have tested positive for COVID-19 by the end of September in the province and 1 597 teachers also had the disease.

About 315 non-teaching staff were also infected, bringing the cumulative total for the province in the basic education sector to 2 795.

There were 2 460 recoveries and 335 active cases remained at that time.

Meanwhile, the latest figures released by the national health department indicate that the province now has a cumulative total of 72 711 COVID-19 cases.

This is 5.3 percent of the country’s 1 392 568 cumulative cases.

The province has suffered a total of 2 593 deaths.

At least 60 694 people have recovered from the disease and there are currently 9 424 active cases in the province.

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