National COVID-19 lockdown and other updates

01 April 2020 | Campus Announcement

Dear students and colleagues

This campus announcement aims to inform the University of Cape Town (UCT) community about recent developments relating to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

1. National lockdown

As part of efforts to minimise the spread of COVID-19, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a 21-day national lockdown which began at midnight on Thursday, 26 March 2020, and will end on Thursday, 16 April 2020. Due to the lockdown, all academic activities, including research on campus, have ceased. All students – including those who had received prior approval to stay – were requested to vacate UCT premises. UCT put measures in place for students who required assistance with travel arrangements.

2. Updates by the UCT leadership

Following the commencement of the lockdown, members of the UCT leadership have been writing to the university community to provide updates relevant to their portfolios.

The Chief Operating Officer, Dr Reno Morar, outlined UCT’s operational plan during the lockdown. Only essential staff, such as Information and Communication Technology Services, is operating on campus according to usual operating procedure. Campus Protection Services is running on skeleton staff and will maintain perimeter security only.

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning, Associate Professor Lis Lange, indicated that following sector consultations, universities have agreed that there will be a sector-wide date for the reopening of academic activities on 20 April. Consultation on the assessment framework for UCT’s remote teaching and learning is ongoing.

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Transformation, Professor Loretta Feris, has emphasised that during this heightened period of stress and anxiety, UCT will continue to support students through, among others, Student Wellness Services, the Office for Inclusivity and Change, and the Student Financial Aid office.

3. UCT confirms fifth and sixth cases

The university confirmed a fifth positive case of COVID-19 on Friday, 27 March 2020.

All individuals who tested positive immediately went into self-isolation for 14 days, and all their identified contacts went into quarantine as soon as they were traced.

Subsequent to this UCT was advised of another student testing positive for COVID-19 on Sunday, 29 March 2020 in Eswatini. The student is receiving medical support and identified contacts were traced and advised to go into quarantine.

Going forward, UCT will provide updates on confirmed cases in the university community on a weekly basis.

4. UCT’s COVID-19 feature page

Find all the latest information from UCT about COVID-19 and what the university is doing to support the fight against the pandemic. The page is regularly updated with the latest critical information.

Staff are encouraged to add the COVID-19 banner to their email signatures.

5. HSRC COVID-19 public survey

The Human Sciences Research Council launched a public survey on Friday, 27 March. The survey aims to better understand what the public knows about COVID-19, the state of readiness to deal with this global pandemic and how they feel about it. It is expected to run for three to four weeks, following which the results will be made available to identified stakeholders, the media and community members.


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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 regularly with the latest COVID-19 information. Please note that the information on this page is subject to change depending on current lockdown regulations.


Frequently asked questions


Commemorating a year of COVID-19

At midnight on 26 March 2020, South Africa went into the first nationwide hard lockdown. A year later, we remember those who have died and those who have been affected by COVID-19, as well as the pandemic’s effects across society and campus. We are especially grateful for the front-line health workers who have done so much for so many.

News and opinions

Campus communications



Media releases

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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.