UCT’s operational plan during COVID-19 lockdown

26 March 2020 | Dr Reno Morar, COO

Dear colleagues

The countrywide lockdown announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa will commence at midnight on Thursday, 26 March, and will last until 16 April 2020. The intention of this drastic measure is to “flatten the curve” and contain the spread of the coronavirus.

It is critical that ONLY essential services remain on campus in order to ensure that we effectively reduce the spread of COVID-19. Some essential services at UCT will remain operational during this time, but will be operating within strict protocols, outlined below.

Securing campus

Campus Protection Services (CPS) will be running on skeleton staff and will maintain perimeter security only. CPS officers will monitor all buildings utilising CCTV cameras, and emergency response vehicles will be on patrol to react to emergencies.

Our approach in compliance with the directives from national government is the following:

  1. General lockdown: designated buildings will be locked by removing their access control timers, only allowing entry to specific designated staff members who will only be permitted to enter the building with their UCT access cards.
  2. Full lockdown: buildings pre-approved for full lockdown will be secured using physical locking mechanisms and will be opened only with prior notice and the approval of UCT’s chief operating officer.
  3. Strategic campus access management: CPS officers will cordon off UCT-owned roads from 14:00 on Thursday, 26 March, to divert traffic to managed access points to control staff entry and minimise security requirements. The following access closures will be in place:

Upper Campus

Location Access
M3 South entrance Closed
South exit beyond P17 Closed
South booms Closed
North entrance (Below P1 entrance) Access point


Middle Campus

Location Access
South Cross campus road Closed
Cross campus (Woolsack Drive) Access point


Lower Campus

Location Access
Lovers Walk / Burg Road Access point
Burg and Baxter roads Closed
Ramp to and from Woolsack Drive Closed
Cecil Road four-way stop Access point
Baxter and Chapel roads Access point


Lockdown timelines

Properties and Services requires all UCT premises to be vacated by students and staff by 12:00 on Thursday, 26 March. This is to provide reasonable time for a final safety, security, maintenance and cleaning check as part of the lockdown.

With effect from midnight on Thursday, 26 March, only persons with pre-authorised access – ie having a letter of authority from their respective dean or executive director, approved by the chief operating officer – will be permitted to have access to a UCT building.

Buildings are to be accessed using UCT access cards only, which will also serve as proof of identity. Where buildings are locked by a physical barrier, staff members must contact the CPS control room for assistance on 021 650 2222.

Essential services in operation

Information and Communication Technology Services (ICTS) will operate according to normal operating procedures. Should you require ICTS assistance, please continue to use the ICTS help desk or contact ICTS through the call centre on 021 650 4500.

Maintenance will be running a standby crew for the required technical inspections, and an emergency call-out team will be made available for urgent repairs. All maintenance requests must be placed as per the usual protocols, but emergency requests must be routed through the CPS call centre on 021 650 2222.

Custodial services – cleaning, gardening and postal services – will not be in operation for the duration of the lockdown.

Occupational Health and Safety

As we prepare for the lock down, please note that it is our joint responsibility to ensure that measures are put in place so that our staff and students who will remain on campus for research or operational purposes are safe and protected.


Dr Reno Morar
Chief Operating Officer

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UCT’s response to COVID-19

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.

In July 2022, the University of Cape Town (UCT) revised its approach to managing the COVID-19 pandemic on UCT campuses in 2022.
Read the latest document available on the UCT policies web page.


Campus communications


Adjusting to our new environment 16:50, 23 June 2022
VC Open Lecture and other updates 17:04, 13 April 2022
Feedback from UCT Council meeting of 12 March 2022 09:45, 18 March 2022
UCT Council
March 2022 graduation celebration 16:45, 8 March 2022
Report on the meeting of UCT Council of 21 February 2022 19:30, 21 February 2022
UCT Council
COVID-19 management 2022 11:55, 14 February 2022
Return to campus arrangements 2022 11:15, 4 February 2022

UCT Community of Hope Vaccination Centre

On Wednesday, 20 July, staff from the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Faculty of Health Sciences came together with representatives from the Western Cape Government at the UCT Community of Hope Vaccination Centre at Forest Hill Residence to acknowledge the centre’s significance in the fight against COVID-19 and to thank its staff for their contributions. The centre opened on 1 September 2021 with the aim of providing quality vaccination services to UCT staff, students and the nearby communities, as well as to create an opportunity for medical students from the Faculty of Health Sciences to gain practical public health skills. The vaccination centre ceased operations on Friday, 29 July 2022.

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.


“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.

Thank You UCT Community

Frequently asked questions


Global Citizen Asks: Are COVID-19 Vaccines Safe & Effective?

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.

IDM YouTube channel | IDM 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.