Coronavirus: UCT suspends classes after staff member tests positive for Covid-19

Coronavirus: UCT suspends classes after staff member tests positive for Covid-19

Wits University and the University of Cape Town have suspended classes in order to limit the spread of the coronavirus, the institutions announced on Sunday.

This came shortly after President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a national state of disaster on Sunday as the Covid-19 crisis worsens around the world.

UCT took a decision to break immediately for the term 1 vacation and suspend classes from Monday, vice-chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng said in a statement.

“We were persuaded of the importance of this step as a precautionary, proactive measure to minimise the risk of spreading coronavirus disease 2019,” Phakeng said.

Residences will be closed and students must vacate them within 72 hours from 16 March 2020.

“Term 2 was set to commence on Monday, 30 March 2020, but we will confirm the beginning of Term 2 once we have had an opportunity to assess the prevailing and quickly changing circumstances.”

Phakeng also confirmed that a staff member tested positive for Covid-19 and is in isolation at home.


Wits University meanwhile announced that starting from Monday, all contact teaching and face-to-face interaction would be postponed, including tests.

“All students are requested to remain at home or to confine themselves to their rooms in residence. Students are encouraged to follow the social distancing guidelines and to limit interaction where this is possible,” the statement read.

All graduations will be postponed until further notice.

The Department of Health says the National Institute for Communicable Diseases is conducting a “confirmatory test” on the specimen of a Wits University student who has tested positive for Covid-19. Earlier on Sunday, the tertiary institution said the medical student had tested positive for the virus, despite not showing any symptoms of the virus.

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