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Ms Zandile Mbabela
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UPDATE 2: Task team preparing Mandela University


Nelson Mandela University’s coronavirus (COVID-19) response task team is working to put measures in place to prepare the University as far as possible for any eventuality related to the virus.

The task team, comprising representatives from across the University’s Learning and Teaching and Operational Support divisions, is planning around various scenarios in a bid to develop ways to deal with possible threats associated with the virus.

Today, 12 March, the Department of Health, through a media statement, confirmed four new cases in addition to the six announced on Wednesday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 17 – with at least one of those declared critical. The newly confirmed cases are in the  Western Cape (Cape Town), KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and the Free State.

As the University works on an institutional strategy for the surveillance, prevention and management of the virus, due consideration has been given to the implications the plan would have for staff and students, and for the academic project.

Monitoring and surveillance:

Staff and students are urged to exercise care and assist by doing everything possible to minimise the risk of spreading the virus.

In a bid to evaluate the possible threat of the virus on the University community, there is a move to monitor staff and students’ international travel movements in the recent past and going forward.

Thus far, the Government has not placed official travel restrictions, however, the University has cautioned against international travel, where possible, particularly to areas identified as high-risk.

To this end, an online travel register has been put in place as a record of staff and students who plan to travel abroad.


Good hygiene remains at the heart of preventative measures, and the task team is exploring ways of fostering good hygiene habits.

This includes a review of the overall cleaning regime on campus and the use of hand sanitisers at common places across the University under the control of various identified staff members. Requisite training is to be provided to the identified staff in this regard.

Staff and students are also reminded of their individual responsibilities with regards good hygiene practices.

Disease management:

In the highly unfortunate event that the virus directly affects the university, the task team is firming up plans to effectively contain the spread of the virus. These include efforts to quarantine the affected parties and spaces, with as minimal disruption as possible to University learning and teaching activities, and operations.

The task team has thought through various scenarios and related implications and is finalising arrangements for the control, containment and management of the people and areas that might be affected by the virus.

Possible response arrangements could include setting up and enabling digital and virtual platforms, and alternative physical sites, to minimise disruptions to learning and teaching, and work.

More detailed information, including relevant contact details, will be shared as the containment strategy is rolled out.

Regular updates on the virus will be shared using the official University platforms, and will be placed on the dedicated coronavirus webpage, along with other related resources.


The University community is once again reminded that it is upon all of us to do what we can as individuals and as a collective to keep ourselves safe from the virus as far as possible.

Please continue to educate yourselves, and those in your community, in containing the spread of the COVID-19 by practicing good health hygiene and implementing other precautionary measures.

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