Dear colleagues and students
With 2020 drawing to a close, many of you are on a much-needed break and spending quality time with loved ones and family members you haven’t been able to see for many months due to lockdown restrictions. Cherish each and every moment and please continue to be vigilant in all of your engagements.
This year has been very challenging as the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to adapt to new ways of doing things and being. Many of you had to balance working and studying from home with taking care of family members who needed home schooling or medical care. Some of you have, sadly, lost loved ones, friends and family members and we continue to share in your pain. Many South Africans have had to deal with high stress levels and mental health issues while at the same time supporting loved ones through economic hardships brought on by the pandemic. We as a broader community have all shown grit and resilience, and in addition, staff and students have gone that extra mile to ensure that the University of Cape Town (UCT) functions optimally. Our appreciation for your commitment cannot be overstated.
Wherever you may be in the country, we urge each and every member of the UCT community to play their part in supporting the call to stop the rapid spread of infections across the country. We are especially cognisant of the impact that our individual behaviour has on the health sector and other services during this time, mindful that we have members of the UCT community, including colleagues and students, working in the health sector and many other services supporting the fight against the pandemic. We urge you all to rally behind every effort to slow the spread of the virus and protect the public health system from being overwhelmed.
Let us each take personal responsibility and play our part in the fight against the virus.
We remind you to please adhere to the following Alert Level 3 guidelines in order to keep yourself and those around you safe:
Finding our communities back in Lockdown Level 3 prescripts is certainly not how we would have envisaged ending the 2020 year. Adhering to the health and safety measures as prescribed is even more important now as we end the 2020 year and enter into 2021.
I believe that we all want to start the new year on a healthy note and so we all need to adhere to the prescribed measures to ensure we are safe and that we play our part in protecting our loved ones. During the festive period this time around, let each of us try to take a break and relax while reflecting on the victories and blessings you experienced this year, no matter how small they may seem. As we remember our experiences of 2020, which may well have deep and mixed emotions for many of us, I encourage everyone to take the time to light that candle on New Year’s eve in honour of everyone who has contributed to carrying us through 2020.
I wish you all well for 2021. May you begin the new year with renewed strength. Enjoy your holiday and please keep safe.
Dr Reno Morar
COO and Acting Vice-Chancellor
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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.
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.