On Thursday, 5 March, we received news that the first case of the coronavirus has been reported in South Africa, in KwaZulu-Natal. Students and staff are reminded that while there is no vaccine to prevent COVID-19, there are preventative steps that can be taken to avoid contracting the virus:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay at home when you are sick, and immediately call a medical professional.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
- You will experience a sudden onset of fever (38 degrees and above)
- In addition, you will experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Difficulty breathing
The safety and well-being of our students and staff are paramount, and we are taking proactive steps to help ensure that we have a plan of action in place to address a possible outbreak on campus. We have established a task team to assist with the implementation of our plan of action. We are working closely with health experts and the relevant authorities, including the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), to prepare for any possible outbreaks. We also have nursing staff and experts on standby in our Student Health Services to assist with initial diagnoses.
To minimise the spread of the virus, the University is taking proactive steps to provide protection and assistance. We have drawn up a plan and have put the necessary preventative measures in place.
- Experts have been put on alert, and dedicated staff will take responsibility for the initial diagnosis of possible infections.
- We will strictly follow the evolving case definition as supplied by the NICD and the WHO, whereafter an interview with the student or staff member who presents with the symptoms must be conducted.
- Specific guidelines have been developed for the procedures to be followed within UP residences and will be managed by the Director for Residences.
All staff and students of the University who intend travelling abroad are requested to inform their Heads of Department of their itineraries and to ensure that they take every possible precaution to avoid exposure to infection.
If at any stage any member of the University suspects that they may have been exposed and feels ill, they are advised to isolate themselves and to contact a medical doctor or the 24-hour UP Operational Management and Crisis Centre on 0800-0064-28 or 012-420-2310 or the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) on 0800-029-999 before going to medical centres.
To read more about COVID-19 and for regular status updates, please visit:
• World Health Organisation.
• National Institute for Communicable Diseases
Message to students and staff regarding the disabling of the biometric system
Coronavirus information: Who to contact