15 April 2021

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

Health questions and contacts

(Updated 18 March 2021) Despite the move to lockdown Level 1, health and government officials continue to urge caution to prevent another rise in COVID-19 infection rates in South Africa. We urge you to take the necessary precautions and avoid large gatherings, enclosed spaces and crowds as far as possible. Wear your mask at all times when outside your home or residence room, keep a distance of 1,5 m from other people, and sanitise or wash your hands regularly to help prevent the risk of infection.

All students who are not staying in residence and do not need to be on campus for academic reasons are strongly encouraged not to come to campus. This will help us to maintain low-density spaces.

You are, however, welcome to use the study spaces on campus, which meet the health and safety protocols under COVID-19 conditions. These spaces are clearly marked to indicate the maximum number of occupants to comply with physical distancing requirements. Students using UCT venues and other facilities are required to follow the prescribed rules and regulations and to cooperate with students and staff in observing these limitations.

(Updated 14 April 2021) Strict protocols remain in place. Staff and students are reminded to continue practising vigilance, to wear suitable masks, to maintain a social distance of 1,5 m from other people and to follow strict hand sanitising regimes. All teaching venues have been examined and necessary maintenance has been carried out to ensure they are safe and have appropriate ventilation.

In complying with COVID-19 health and safety regulations, UCT is providing three cloth masks to all staff members and students who report 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 daily and wear a fresh mask every day. Additional personal protective equipment will be provided to health system staff.

From 19 April to 24 December 2021, UCT will make available study spaces for students not living in residences, but whose internet connectivity and/or studying conditions are negatively impacted by structural and systemic inequality. These spaces will operate from 08:00 to 20:00 (Monday to Friday) and will be monitored by marshals, who are trained senior students reporting to the Department of Student Affairs.

UCT remains committed to maintaining a low-density campus. Students should only access the campuses in cases of absolute necessity, and not if they are at risk medically. If in doubt, please contact the Student Wellness Service.

Read more on the DSA website for details.

A full assessment of laboratories for social distancing, air conditioning and ventilation, as well as layout to maximise capacity, has resulted in a decision to open some faculty laboratories. These will operate at 50% capacity for face-to-face teaching, while others have made laboratory computers accessible remotely. To help students plan, Information and Communication Technology Services has a dedicated webpage detailing laboratory availability.

Read more about student computing availability during COVID-19.

Student Housing will open their labs for use from 16 April 2021. Lab assistants have received COVID-19 marshal training; areas in the labs have been demarcated; and the necessary personal protective equipment has been supplied.

Read more about student computing availability during COVID-19.

Library opening hours will be extended to 09:00 to 22:00 (Monday to Friday) from 19 April 2021. This is in line with UCT’s planned, phased return to campus. Maximum occupancy will remain at 100 in the main library. The air conditioning is being upgraded, in a phased manner, to provide enhanced ventilation to minimise viral loads. Students may also access the UCT Libraries resources via the Libraries website and a dedicated Virtual Library Support page.

(Updated 12 April 2021) Every student or staff member who comes onto campus must have their UCT student or staff card. They are required to present the outcome of their personal health risk assessments on the UCT Daily Health Screening app (which replaces the Higher Health Screening app from 15 April 2021) to the Campus Protection Services officers at checkpoints or faculty entrance points as required.

From 15 April all UCT staff and students entering campus will need to sign into the UCT Daily Health Screening App, either on their own phones or at the access terminals at campus checkpoints. Students without smartphones will be assisted by security at the checkpoints.

The UCT Daily Health Screening app meets the government’s requirements while incorporating customised features to meet the specific needs of UCT. The app has been designed to help keep students and staff safe by alerting users who may need medical attention or testing. It will also allow health practitioners in the Properties and Services Occupational Health Unit and the Student Wellness Service in the Department of Student Affairs to assist in managing the possible risks related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

(Updated 12 April 2021) Every UCT student or staff member is required to complete the UCT Daily Health Screening app each time they enter campus. They are required to present the outcome of their personal health risk assessments to the Campus Protection Services officers at checkpoints or faculty entrance points as required.

From 15 April all UCT staff and students entering campus will need to sign into the UCT Daily Health Screening app, either on their own phones or at the access terminals at campus checkpoints. Students without smartphones will be assisted by security at the checkpoints.

Read the step-by-step guide and FAQ on the UCT Daily Health Screening app.

(Updated 12 April 2021) The user-friendly UCT Daily Health Screening app runs in a browser on any smartphone, laptop or desktop computer, and can be accessed online. The app can also be accessed via the UCT Mobile app.

From 15 April students without smartphones will be assisted with the UCT Daily Health Screening app by security at the checkpoints.

Read more about the UCT Daily Health Screening app.

(Updated 18 March 2021) We are trying to prevent persons who may be infected with COVID-19 from entering the university and transmitting the infection to others.

(Updated 18 March 2021) Symptom screening involves downloading the UCT Daily Health Screening app and following the easy steps. The screening only takes a few minutes to complete and delivers an immediate result.

  • A green circle means you may proceed to a checkpoint on the UCT campus.
  • An amber circle means you should contact the relevant office to speak to a consultant, who will determine whether you can be cleared with a green circle to proceed to a checkpoint.
  • A red circle means that your responses indicate that you are at risk of COVID-19 infection, and you should report to a health practitioner and self-quarantine for 10 days.

You need to show your screening results to the Campus Protection Services (CPS) officers at the entrance to campus. Only those with results showing green will be allowed to enter. 

For assistance, please contact the UCT COVID Hotline: 021 650 0999 or email Students who require support are encouraged to contact the Student Wellness Service on 021 650 5620 or 021 650 1271.

Read more about the UCT Daily Health Screening app.

(Updated 18 March 2021) The UCT Daily Health Screening app is designed to identify persons who may have possible symptoms of COVID-19 and prevent them from entering UCT.

However, persons infected with COVID-19 are infectious one or more 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 who is unknowingly infected with COVID-19 entering UCT.

(Updated 18 March 2021) Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms must contact their general medical practitioner and notify their line manager or their student administrator / course lecturers via the UCT COVID Hotline (021 650 0999).

Students who require support or advice can also contact the Student Wellness Service on 021 650 5620 or 021 650 1271. Telephonic screenings are offered for any respiratory symptoms, eg cough, cold, fevers and/or shortness of breath.

(Updated 18 March 2021) If you identify someone who may be sick or has flu-like symptoms while on campus at UCT:

  • Keep your masks on and maintain a physical distance of at least 2 m.
  • Request them to open doors and windows for ventilation, if possible.
  • Immediately contact your line manager or supervisor.
  • Ensure that the person goes to the designated isolation room for your work area (line managers should be aware of the site of their closest isolation room).
  • Contact the UCT COVID Hotline on 021 650 0999 to find out 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

(Updated 13 April 2021) Students can reach out to UCT's Student Wellness Service (SWS), which offers online and telephonic counselling and support.

The SADAG 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, on the UCT Mobile app or phone reception on 021 650 1020.

Read the SWS flyer on services that are available to students away from campus.

  • Counselling: Students can continue to access their therapists for counselling via telephone or Skype. Sessions can be booked as usual, either online or via reception on 021 650 1017. Students can book with any of the counsellors on the SWS booking site – they don’t have to book with their usual faculty counsellor.
    Book a counselling session online.
  • 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.
    Book a telephonic consultation online.
  • All SWS social workers will be available for telephonic psychosocial support. Sessions must be booked, as usual, online or phone reception on 021 650 1017. Referral letters to other facilities and external services will be provided.
    Book for psychosocial support online.
  • Peer counselling support: Peer counsellors from SWS 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 the online booking platform on the SWS website.
    Book for peer counselling support online.
  • UCT Student Wellness Service:
    021 650 5620 (office hours)
    021 650 1271 (after hours)

(Updated 18 March 2021) UCT Human Resources (HR) offers many forms of support, including the coordination of services provided by the Independent Counselling and Advisory Services (ICAS) and the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG). Read the full list of counselling services available on UCT HR’s Health and Wellness web page.

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 has also 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 Employee Wellness Programme that is available 365 days a year and information to address some of your health and wellness needs.

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

(Updated 18 March 2021) 


Staff in pay classes 2 to 6 are covered by Kaelo, which is promoting health and wellness through the Kaelo Cares page. Although the on-site 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.

Visit the Kaelo Cares page.

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.

Discovery Health Medical Scheme (DHMS) provides cover for COVID-19 from the World Health Organization Global Outbreak Benefit. This benefit complements existing DHMS benefits and is available on all DHMS health plans.

DHMS is also able to provide COVID-19 testing for symptomatic people who have a doctor’s referral to get tested.

Read more about Discovery’s support for you during the nationwide COVID-19 Level 1 lockdown.

Find out about Discovery’s Vitality at Home service to help you stay healthy and get rewarded at home.

Join the #JEFFtogether exercise community on Facebook, which is offering free morning workouts for adults and afternoon workouts for children online in partnership with Discovery Vitality. Maintaining physical wellness is essential to ensuring mental wellness.

(Updated 18 March 2021) All COVID-19 related queries can be directed to the UCT COVID Hotline: 021 650 0999 or to the Triage line: 021 650 6520 (office hours) or 021 650 1271 (after hours).

You can also contact your personal healthcare provider, who will refer you for testing.

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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.

Read more about the UCT COVID-19 Emergency Fund.

(Updated 14 December) As at 8 December 2020, UCT had 140 reported COVID-19 cases among non-health sciences staff members. Staff recoveries stand at 107. The number of students who have tested positive for the virus is 67, which includes 16 Faculty of Health Sciences students on clinical platforms.

The university has, regrettably, again recorded a notable increase in new cases. Members of the UCT community are urged to remain vigilant and to keep adhering strictly to all COVID-19 protocols.

The university has lost nine staff members and one student to the virus.

(Updated 16 November) This matter is under review by the relevant departments and will be communicated once a decision is made.

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