27 August 2020

Health questions and contacts | UCT’s response to COVID-19

Health questions and contacts

(Updated 26 August) In terms of the COVID-19 Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, UCT should provide three cloth masks to all staff members and students reporting to campus. Staff and students must always wear their cloth masks on campus and while commuting to and from campus. They should wash their used cloth masks every day and wear a fresh mask every day. Additional personal protective equipment will be provided to health system staff.

Workplaces must be arranged to allow a minimum of two metres between staff/students. Workstations must be adapted to increase physical distancing. Students and staff must not gather in communal areas, such as toilets and smoking areas. The use of lifts must be limited to one person at a time. Venues need to be kept well ventilated.

Staff/students must ensure they wash their hands regularly. UCT will ensure that staff/students have access to sanitiser at the entrance to the area where they will work.

University shuttle services must have preventive measures in place, with no more than 50% occupancy.

(Updated 26 August) Every person entering campus will be screened. All those arriving on campus need to show their results of a pre-screen electronic questionnaire, which is available at Proof of the pre-screen must be provided when arriving at reception.

(Updated 31 August) Every person entering a UCT campus is required to complete the HealthCheck app each time they enter the campus.
(Updated 31 August) The HealthCheck app is available on the Higher Health website.
(Updated 31 August) We are trying to prevent persons who may be infected with COVID-19 from entering the university and transmitting the infection to others.

(Updated 31 August) Symptom screening involves downloading the HealthCheck app and following these steps:

  • Complete the app (preferably at home before coming to UCT).
  • The app will ask if you have any of a number of symptoms.
  • Based on your answers, the app will show:
    • green – you may enter campus
    • red – you may NOT enter campus
    • orange/amber – you should contact your healthcare provider.
  • You need to show your results to the Campus Protection Services officers at the entrance to the campus.
  • Only those with results showing green will be allowed to enter.

If the app is red, you possibly have symptoms of COVID-19 and should self-isolate for 10 days from the onset of the symptoms. You should also monitor your health and, if your condition worsens, you should contact your healthcare provider or the UCT COVID hotline 021 650 0999.

The symptoms of COVID-19 are very similar to flu symptoms, so all persons with flu-like symptoms should be considered a potential case of COVID-19 and should not enter UCT.

(Updated 31 August) The HealthCheck app is designed to identify persons with possible symptoms of COVID-19 and prevent them from entering UCT.

However, persons infected with COVID-19 are infectious one or two days before they show symptoms, and so a few cases may not be detected by the screening app. Some people might not recognise that they have symptoms, especially if they are very mild. Others may only begin to show symptoms while at work.

The aim of the screening is to reduce the likelihood of someone infected with COVID-19 entering UCT, but there may be cases of persons infected with COVID-19 at UCT.

(Updated 26 August) Staff and students who develop symptoms on campus must immediately report their symptoms to their manager or student coordinator.

(Updated 31 August) If you identify someone who may be sick or has flu-like symptoms at UCT:

  • Keep your mask on and maintain a physical distance of at least 2 metres.
  • In a caring and calm way, ensure that the person remains in the room.
  • Immediately contact your line manager or supervisor.
  • Ensure that the person goes to the designated isolation room for your area (line managers should be aware of the site of their closest isolation room).
  • Contact the UCT COVID Hotline on 021 650 0999 and they will inform you how to proceed.
  • Line managers should continue to monitor staff members by contacting them or their families / next of kin.
  • Heads of departments should notify Blanche Claasen-Hoskins at Organisational Health on 021 650 5685.
  • Student Wellness Service will monitor students.
  • For transport to an isolation facility, contact Clive Lippert on 021 650 5285.

(Updated 26 August) Students can reach out to UCT’s Student Wellness Service (SWS), which offers online and telephonic counselling and support.

The UCT Student Care Line continues to provide 24-hour telephonic counselling on 0800 24 25 26 (free from a Telkom line) or SMS 31393 for a callback.

SWS bookings can be made online, via email or on the UCT mobile app.

Counselling: Students can continue to access their therapists for counselling via telephone or Skype. Sessions can be booked as usual, either online or via email. Students can book with any of the counsellors on the SWS booking site – they don’t have to book with their usual faculty counsellor.

Medical advisory: Students can seek medical advice by calling SWS on 021 650 5620. Please note: these calls are not consultations. Students can also book a request online for a consultation with the Clinical Nurse Practitioner, who will call back at the appointed time.

All SWS social workers will be available for telephonic psychosocial support. Sessions must be booked, as usual, either online or via email to

Referral letters to other facilities and external services will be provided upon receipt of an emailed request.

Peer counselling support: Peer-counsellors from SWS will offer counselling and public awareness programmes from 12:00 to 17:00 from Monday to Saturday. Peer support is also available via telephonic contact, Skype, Zoom and email. Appointments can be arranged via direct messenger or the SWS website.

To continue supporting survivors of sexual assault, UCT’s Office for Inclusivity & Change (OIC) is running a weekly online Survivor Support Group (SSG). The OIC’s specialist wellness counsellor and survivor support officer, Yumna Seadat, runs the SSGs, which take place every Tuesday from 17:30 to 19:30. These SSGs will continue online until all staff and students have returned to campus.

To join an online SSG, potential participants should contact Seadat via email at to arrange an initial one-on-one meeting, when Seadat will discuss confidentiality, anonymity and how to gain access to the online SSG via Microsoft Teams.

UCT Student Wellness Service

  • 021 650 5620 (office hours)
  • 021 650 1271 (after hours)
  • 021 650 5685 (staff only)

(Updated 26 August) UCT Human Resources (HR) offers many forms of support, including the coordination of services provided by the Independent Counselling and Advisory Services (ICAS) and South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG). Read the full list of counselling services available on UCT HR’s Health and Wellness web page.

During this unprecedented time, we have asked ICAS to increase their capacity for managing the immediate needs of our staff members. While ICAS on-site counselling is suspended for now, the same counsellors are available to conduct telephonic counselling. You can access these services by:

  • Calling toll-free for counselling over the phone: 080 111 3945
  • Sending a please-call-me to: *134*905#
  • Emailing

ICAS recently launched a new online app, ICAS On-the-Go, which allows you to chat live with an ICAS counsellor. The app gives you and your family access to a 24/7/365 Employee Wellness Programme and information to address some of your health and wellness needs.

Connect to ICAS On-the-Go. The code for UCT staff is UNI003.


Staff in pay classes 2 to 6 are covered by Kaelo, which is promoting health and wellness through the Kaelo Cares page. Although the onsite UCT clinic is closed during lockdown, Kaelo is providing services in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic. To access these services, Kaelo members can phone their Kaelo primary healthcare network doctors.

Discovery Health

Staff in pay classes 7 and above as well as academic staff who are Discovery Health members can access the medical aid provider’s services.

  • Lancet Laboratories are operating a drive-through testing service for symptomatic people who have a doctor’s referral to get tested. Lancet testing sites in Cape Town offer a 24–48-hour turnaround time and will accept payment for COVID-19 tests via medical aid.
  • PathCare has specific service conditions. Please phone to make a booking and enquire about service conditions before going for a test.

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UCT’s response to COVID-19

(Updated 26 August) UCT is participating in three international trials in South Africa in search for a COVID-19 vaccine.

(Updated 16 October) UCT set up the COVID-19 Emergency Fund in April 2020 to assist in the fight against the virus and its impact on the university community. The goal is to raise R20 million towards addressing urgent priorities related to staff and students during and after the lockdown. The university is extremely grateful to donors, who have so far contributed more than R8.6 million towards the fund. These donations came from corporates, foundations, alumni and staff, among others.

A donation of any amount, no matter how small, will go a long way towards helping our students complete their academic studies so that the UCT community can contribute to the restoration of our country. Donations towards the COVID-19 Emergency Fund can be made online or deposited directly into the following account:

Bank: Standard Bank | Account name: UCT Donations | Account number: 071 522 387 | Branch code: 025009 | Account type: Business Current Account | Swift address: SBZAZAJJ

Please use COVID-19 and the full name of the donor as the reference.

Proof of payment should be emailed to so that an S18A tax certificate can be issued for the donation.

(16 October 2020) As at 13 October, UCT has had 103 reported positive COVID-19 cases among non-health sciences staff, with 90 recoveries.

Please note that this update pertains to staff only; the update for students will be shared soon. As at 6 October, when the last update was shared, the number of reported student cases was 36, including 10 health sciences students on clinical platforms.

Nine staff and one student have sadly been lost to the pandemic.

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