Dear students and colleagues
I write to update you on steps taken by the University of Cape Town (UCT) in its response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and with an update on information related to travel.
As many of you may be aware today the Minister of Health announced that 6 more cases of COVID-19 had been identified and one of those cases has been confirmed as being in the Western Cape. The UCT leadership has established the UCT business continuity management coordinating committee – the COVID-19 Coordinating Committee (CCC) – which is responsible for responding to the outbreak. The committee is chaired by UCT’s chief operating officer, Dr Reno Morar. It is tasked with continued close monitoring of any developments around COVID-19 and is working in partnership with the Department of Health, the NICD, the Western Cape Department of Health, and other spheres and agencies of government. The committee will update the UCT community regularly.
I would like to encourage you to visit the UCT feature page on COVID-19, which is now live and will be updated with the latest information related to the disease and our response as an institution.
With regards to international travel, while UCT has not implemented any general travel restrictions for students and staff, we draw attention to the following:
There are a number of important steps we would like to encourage all students, staff and visitors to continue to follow to help prevent the spread of the disease. These include practising good personal hand hygiene and cough etiquette.
Please note the following important telephone numbers:
You can also find out more information by visiting the following websites:
The national government is regularly issuing updates on COVID-19 and recently released an update on the status of the government’s response:
It is critically important that we as individuals, but also as an institution, do everything possible to avoid spreading SARS-CoV-2 into the general population in high numbers and putting further strain on our country’s health system and population. We can all play a critical role in limiting its spread.
Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng
Updates will be posted on UCT’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 feature page on the UCT News website.
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Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a global pandemic that caused President Cyril Ramaphosa to declare a national disaster in South Africa on 15 March. This was followed by the implementation of a national lockdown, which has been in effect since midnight on 26 March and has recently been extended to 30 April. The intention of this drastic measure is to “flatten the curve” and contain the spread of the coronavirus to enable healthcare workers to more effectively treat those affected.
UCT is taking the threat of infection in our university community extremely seriously, and this page will be updated regularly with the latest COVID-19 information.
Getting credible, evidence-based, accessible information and recommendations relating to COVID-19
The Department of Medicine at the University of Cape Town and Groote Schuur Hospital, are producing educational video material for use on digital platforms and in multiple languages. The information contained in these videos is authenticated and endorsed by the team of experts based in the Department of Medicine. Many of the recommendations are based on current best evidence and are aligned to provincial, national and international guidelines. For more information on UCT’s Department of Medicine, please visit the website.
To watch more videos like these, visit the Department of Medicine’s YouTube channel.
The Covid-19 crisis has reinforced the global consequences of fragmented, inadequate and inequitable healthcare systems and the damage caused by hesitant and poorly communicated responses.24 Jun 2020 - >10 min read Opinion
Our scientists must not practise in isolation, but be encouraged to be creative and increase our knowledge of the needs of developing economies, write Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, vice-chancellor of UCT, and Professor Thokozani Majozi from the University of the Witwatersrand.09 Jun 2020 - 6 min read Republished
South Africa has been recognised globally for its success in flattening the curve, which came as a result of President Ramaphosa responding quickly to the crisis, writes Prof Alan Hirsch.28 Apr 2020 - 6 min read Republished
In an email to the UCT community, Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng said:
“COVID-19, caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2, is a rapidly changing epidemic. [...] Information [...] will be updated as and when new information becomes available.”
We are continuing to monitor the situation and we will be updating the UCT community regularly – as and when there are further updates. If you are concerned or need more information, students can contact the Student Wellness Service on 021 650 5620 or 021 650 1271 (after hours), while staff can contact 021 650 5685.