Dear students and colleagues
I wish to thank the thousands of staff and students that are adhering to all the health and safety regulations and guidelines related to COVID-19. All of you are helping to keep each other and the campus safe while continuing to work so hard to ensure we reach our goals as an institution.
As COVID-19 wears on, it may be tempting to drop your guard. But the virus is as infectious and dangerous as it was seven months ago, when lockdown began. I urge you all to continue keeping yourselves and those around you safe.
We are seeing news reports of superspreader events in South Africa and other countries that are now experiencing a second wave of COVID-19. In his speech to the nation on 11 November, President Cyril Ramaphosa mentioned areas of concern around the country, with a focus on the rise of cases in the Eastern Cape. As he pointed out, it might be tempting, as the holiday season approaches, to attend more events and to be with friends and family. But it is critical that we limit our engagements as much as we can and that, when we do gather in small groups, we ensure that we do all we can to stay safe.
As President Ramaphosa said: “What we are witnessing in the Eastern Cape should be a wake-up call to all of us, that we cannot relax and we cannot be complacent. But we can avoid a second wave if we each play our part, if we remember what we need to do to keep ourselves and others safe.” It is for this reason that the national state of disaster has been extended to 15 December.
Apart from protecting others, it is also in your own interests to avoid crowded, confined and enclosed spaces and places that do not allow space for social distancing.
We each also have a responsibility to avoid putting those around us at risk. If I test positive, for instance, my family and anyone I have had contact with will have to go into quarantine and may not be able to go to work, attend a class or take an exam.
I am very grateful for everything you are doing to protect yourself and others during this time. I know it is not always easy, but it is essential to continue to adapt to this new reality.
Please continue to keep a distance of 1.5 metres from other people, wash and sanitise your hands frequently and wear a mask in public. These three steps need to become like second nature.
Take good care of yourselves, and those around you, for the sake of us all.
With best wishes
Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng
Read previous communications:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Please view the republishing articles page for more information.
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.