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10 March 2020
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update - 10 March 2020
Dear Campus Community

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has confirmed that there are seven confirmed cases of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in South Africa (Coronavirus).

None of these individuals reside in the Western Cape. We, as the executive management of the University, are monitoring the situation carefully, along with the UWC Covid-19 Advisory Team consisting of, among others, an internationally respected molecular biologist.

As part of our contingency plans, we appeal to all students and staff – who have travelled to [affected countries] for any reason in the last four weeks – to make contact with the International Relations Office. Email or as soon as possible.

We assure you that all our necessary protocols and measures, which will be shared soon, are in line with those set by national and international health authorities.

Remember to follow these useful [safety tips]:

•    Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitiser as this kills viruses that may be on your hands. Dry your hands with a paper towel and dispose of it safely.

•    Maintain a distance of at least two metres between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing, as droplets from their nose or mouth may contain the virus.

•    Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, because if your hands are infected with the virus, doing so can transfer it into your body.

•    Practice respiratory hygiene by covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.

If you have good reason to believe you have been exposed to the virus due to recent travels to affected countries or due to direct contact with someone who has been diagnosed with and/or has symptoms suggestive of the illness, do not present yourself at a medical facility. Make contact with the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NCID) directly. Contact the NICD hotline on 082  883 9920 or 0800 029 999, or visit

According to the World Health Organization, the most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, a runny nose, sore throat or diarrhoea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but do not develop any symptoms, and do not feel unwell.

About 80% recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who get COVID-19 become seriously ill and develop difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems such as high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes are more likely to develop serious illness.

Please beware of fake news or hoaxes around Covid-19. The spreading of false news could have serious legal ramifications.


Dr Lawton-Misra
University of the Western Cape