The university confirmed at the weekend that a staff member at the department of mechanical engineering, in Durban, had tested positive for Covid-19.
Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency(ANA)
The university confirmed at the weekend that a staff member at the department of mechanical engineering, in Durban, had tested positive for Covid-19. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency(ANA)

Alarm as DUT staff member tests positive for Covid-19

By Sakhiseni Nxumalo Time of article published Jun 29, 2020

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Durban - Students at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) were left on edge after the institution reported its first Covid-19 case at the Durban campus.

The university confirmed at the weekend that a staff member at the department of mechanical engineering, in Durban, had tested positive for Covid-19.

According to the institution, upon receiving the news, it immediately activated its Covid-19 outbreak response protocol.

DUT said its Covid-19 response task team, together with the head of department from mechanical engineering, conducted a detailed investigation and compiled a report as per the Higher Health Guidelines from the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET).

The university said, from their initial investigation, it appeared that the staff member was on duty on Wednesday and Thursday.

The university said the staff member had not been on campus since then.

DUT SRC secretary Sindiswa Buthelezi said most of the students were worried after the university reported its first case.

Buthelezi said students feared that the virus might be spread among them, especially at their residences.

Buthelezi said when students or staff contracted the virus, the institution should be held accountable because of its failure to meet health and safety regulations prior to reopening.

“We are worried about the safety of the students, especially those who reside in outsourced residences.

“We do not trust landlords to properly sanitise the residences and maintain health and safety regulations,” said Buthelezi.

As a precautionary measure, the university said they had started with tracing all of the close contacts, staff and students of the patient in the department.

“This is done to place them in self-quarantine and advise affected colleagues to work remotely.”

The university also recommended that all those who might be symptomatic to go for testing as soon as possible.

“We have now requested that the contact list form be compiled with a detailed report to institute further measures to protect staff and students on campus.

“We urge all colleagues and students who are on campus to remain calm.

“Those who were in contact with the staff member will be approached and informed about the situation,” said DUT.

DUT also urged all staff and students to wear a mask whenever they leave their place of residence and have them on all the time while they are on campus or in residences.

The Mercury

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