Dear students and colleagues
This campus announcement aims to inform the University of Cape Town community about recent developments around the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and other updates on campus.
1. Update on UCT COVID-19 cases
UCT has not received reports of any new positive COVID-19 cases since the last weekly update was issued on 8 April 2020. Since the first reported infection a month ago, the university has had seven cases of COVID-19 – four staff members and three students (including one student who has recovered).
2. Cell C and Telkom zero rating
The university is very pleased to announce that Cell C and Telkom have both agreed to the request to zero-rate access to certain UCT websites. UCT has called on the remaining two cellphone providers to support this call, which comes not just from UCT but from across the higher education sector.
3. Gratitude to UCT community for dedication and hard work
Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi has expressed gratitude to all members of the UCT community for adapting and working under a new demanding and different reality – the national lockdown.
Professor Phakeng reiterated the commitment of the executive and the Leadership Lekgotla (comprising the deans and executive directors) to do all that is practically possible to steer the institution through this difficult and uncertain time.
Staff and students were encouraged to take responsibility for their own wellness and for those around them, and to seek help when needed. Support services are available to staff and students even while off campus.
4. COVID-19 video messages from the Department of Medicine
The Department of Medicine at the University of Cape Town and Groote Schuur Hospital have produced 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.
5. ICTS scheduled maintenance
Please note that on Sunday,19 April the Information and Communication Technology Services (ICTS) will carry out scheduled maintenance from 09:00 until 17:00. Unless advised to the contrary, do not expect any ICT services to be available for the duration of the maintenance slot. Please remember to consult the scheduled ICTS maintenance slots for 2020 before planning any activities that require ICT services.
6. Second part of HSRC COVID-19 survey
The Human Sciences Research Council launched a public survey about COVID-19 on Friday, 27 March 2020. The second wave of the survey is currently being conducted. It commenced on Thursday, 9 April and will run until Sunday, 19 April. The second part includes telephonic qualitative questions which will provide deeper responses from respondents, particularly those with minimal internet access.
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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 and implement a national lockdown from 26 March. The intention of these drastic measures is to “flatten the curve” and contain the spread of the coronavirus to enable healthcare workers to more effectively treat those affected. Although South Africa has recently reached a peak of COVID-19 infections, the country is expecting a surge in positive cases in August.
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.