Dear colleagues and students
I am writing to inform you that we have confirmed a fifth positive case of COVID-19 at the University of Cape Town (UCT). It is a student.
We previously confirmed four other cases – three colleagues and a student – this brings the total now to five. Unlike the previous four cases, this case was confirmed in KwaZulu-Natal.
The KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Department of Health confirmed the case through the prescribed protocol and is caring for the student and conducting contact tracing.
Please note we are committed to maintain confidentiality in relation to the medical conditions of staff and students. This includes the information in relation to testing for whatever infectious or non-infectious diseases a person may have and is an important ethical imperative.
Breaking that confidentiality is not acceptable and for healthcare professionals, who include health scientists, it is against all moral codes. Naming people in e-mails or over social media platforms or releasing information about them that could identify them must please be avoided.
We wish our colleagues and students well and a speedy return to good health. As our country commences our national lockdown, I wanted to let each of you know – staff and students – that myself and the UCT leadership are thinking of each and everyone of you as we commit as a nation to fighting this pandemic.
Please visit UCT’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 feature page on the UCT News website, which has all the relevant information in relation to UCT’s response to the pandemic.
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.
As the COVID-19 crisis drags on and evolves, civil society groups are responding to growing and diversifying needs – just when access to resources is becoming more insecure, writes UCT’s Prof Ralph Hamann.03 Jul 2020 - 6 min read Republished
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.