UCT’s operational plan during COVID-19 lockdown

26 March 2020 | Dr Reno Morar, COO

Dear colleagues

The countrywide lockdown announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa will commence at midnight on Thursday, 26 March, and will last until 16 April 2020. The intention of this drastic measure is to “flatten the curve” and contain the spread of the coronavirus.

It is critical that ONLY essential services remain on campus in order to ensure that we effectively reduce the spread of COVID-19. Some essential services at UCT will remain operational during this time, but will be operating within strict protocols, outlined below.

Securing campus

Campus Protection Services (CPS) will be running on skeleton staff and will maintain perimeter security only. CPS officers will monitor all buildings utilising CCTV cameras, and emergency response vehicles will be on patrol to react to emergencies.

Our approach in compliance with the directives from national government is the following:

  1. General lockdown: designated buildings will be locked by removing their access control timers, only allowing entry to specific designated staff members who will only be permitted to enter the building with their UCT access cards.
  2. Full lockdown: buildings pre-approved for full lockdown will be secured using physical locking mechanisms and will be opened only with prior notice and the approval of UCT’s chief operating officer.
  3. Strategic campus access management: CPS officers will cordon off UCT-owned roads from 14:00 on Thursday, 26 March, to divert traffic to managed access points to control staff entry and minimise security requirements. The following access closures will be in place:

Upper Campus

Location Access
M3 South entrance Closed
South exit beyond P17 Closed
South booms Closed
North entrance (Below P1 entrance) Access point


Middle Campus

Location Access
South Cross campus road Closed
Cross campus (Woolsack Drive) Access point


Lower Campus

Location Access
Lovers Walk / Burg Road Access point
Burg and Baxter roads Closed
Ramp to and from Woolsack Drive Closed
Cecil Road four-way stop Access point
Baxter and Chapel roads Access point


Lockdown timelines

Properties and Services requires all UCT premises to be vacated by students and staff by 12:00 on Thursday, 26 March. This is to provide reasonable time for a final safety, security, maintenance and cleaning check as part of the lockdown.

With effect from midnight on Thursday, 26 March, only persons with pre-authorised access – ie having a letter of authority from their respective dean or executive director, approved by the chief operating officer – will be permitted to have access to a UCT building.

Buildings are to be accessed using UCT access cards only, which will also serve as proof of identity. Where buildings are locked by a physical barrier, staff members must contact the CPS control room for assistance on 021 650 2222.

Essential services in operation

Information and Communication Technology Services (ICTS) will operate according to normal operating procedures. Should you require ICTS assistance, please continue to use the ICTS help desk or contact ICTS through the call centre on 021 650 4500.

Maintenance will be running a standby crew for the required technical inspections, and an emergency call-out team will be made available for urgent repairs. All maintenance requests must be placed as per the usual protocols, but emergency requests must be routed through the CPS call centre on 021 650 2222.

Custodial services – cleaning, gardening and postal services – will not be in operation for the duration of the lockdown.

Occupational Health and Safety

As we prepare for the lock down, please note that it is our joint responsibility to ensure that measures are put in place so that our staff and students who will remain on campus for research or operational purposes are safe and protected.


Dr Reno Morar
Chief Operating Officer

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Coronavirus Disease 2019 updates

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.

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.

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New SRC and other updates 16:44, 4 November 2020
Virtual graduation ceremonies 13:30, 21 October 2020
Online staff assembly and other updates 15:09, 30 September 2020
Fee adjustments and other updates 15:21, 16 September 2020
Call for proposals: TLC2020 10:15, 26 August 2020
SAULM survey and other updates 15:30, 5 August 2020
COVID-19 cases and other updates 15:26, 5 August 2020
New UCT Council and other updates 15:12, 15 July 2020
Upcoming UCT virtual events 09:30, 15 July 2020
Pre-paid data for UCT students 14:25, 22 April 2020
Update for postgraduate students 12:55, 20 April 2020
UCT Human Resources and COVID-19 16:05, 19 March 2020
UCT confirms second COVID-19 case 09:15, 19 March 2020
Update on UCT COVID-19 response 13:50, 11 March 2020
Update on COVID-19 17:37, 6 March 2020


Video messages from the Department of Medicine

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.

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Statements from Government


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.