Dear colleagues and students
Last night, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a countrywide lockdown, commencing at midnight, Thursday, 26 March, and lasting until 16 April 2020.
This was done to contain the spread of the virus and “flatten the curve”. The impact of the lockdown is that, apart from certain exempt sectors, no one will be allowed to leave their houses, except to buy food or seek medical attention.
This places the University of Cape Town in an unsustainable position and we require every student to return home as soon as possible.
As a result of the lockdown, no member of staff will be allowed in any UCT building, including residences in the event of an emergency. All academic activities, including research, on campus will also cease. It is now a legal imperative that all residences must close. All students – including those who received prior approval to stay – must vacate UCT premises urgently and return home. Otherwise you will be in violation of the lockdown.
All students must now leave the residences by 17:00 on Wednesday, 25 March. At that time all residences will be locked down, electronic access will be removed and Wi-Fi, electricity and water will be shut off.
UCT will provide travel assistance for students unable to pay for their departure. We will engage with foreign embassies to ensure that international students can return safely to their countries as soon as possible.
We are in an unprecedented moment, as the President said last night. We all carry a huge responsibility to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on our country.
I therefore appeal to all members of the UCT community – staff and students – to do all that is necessary to support the country and one another in the time ahead.
We are continuing to discuss how we will continue UCT’s necessary work as we enter the lockdown phase, but for now I urge you all to prepare for the deadline of Thursday, 26 March 2020.
I thank all staff and students who are making the right decision to do all we can to “flatten the curve”. This crisis creates many anxieties and personal complexities for all of us, yet I see so many of you still doing your part to help all fellow citizens as we battle the impact of the pandemic on our country. You make me proud.
Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng
This communication has been corrected. Update: 08:50, 26 March 2020.
Updates will be posted on UCT’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 feature page on the UCT News website.
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COVID-19 is a global pandemic that caused President Cyril Ramaphosa to declare a national disaster in South Africa on 15 March 2020 and to implement a national lockdown from 26 March 2020. UCT is taking the threat of infection in our university community extremely seriously, and this page will be updated with the latest COVID-19 information. Please note that the information on this page is subject to change depending on current lockdown regulations.
Minister of Health, Dr Joe Phaahla, has in June 2022 repealed some of South Africa’s remaining COVID-19 regulations: namely, sections 16A, 16B and 16C of the Regulations Relating to the Surveillance and the Control of Notifiable Medical Conditions under the National Health Act. We are now no longer required to wear masks or limit gatherings. Venue restrictions and checks for travellers coming into South Africa have now also been removed.
“After almost a year of operation, the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Community of Hope Vaccination Centre, located at the Forest Hill residence complex in Mowbray, will close on Friday, 29 July 2022. I am extremely grateful and proud of all staff, students and everyone involved in this important project.”
– Vice-Chancellor Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng
With the closure of the UCT Community of Hope Vaccination Centre, if you still require access to a COVID-19 vaccination site please visit the CovidComms SA website to find an alternative.
UCT’s Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine (IDM) collaborated with Global Citizen, speaking to trusted experts to dispel vaccine misinformation.
If you have further questions about the COVID-19 vaccine check out the FAQ produced by the Desmond Tutu Health Foundation (DTHF). The DTHF has developed a dedicated chat function where you can ask your vaccine-related questions on the bottom right hand corner of the website.
“As a contact university, we look forward to readjusting our undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in 2023 as the COVID-19 regulations have been repealed.”
– Prof Harsha Kathard, Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning
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.