Wits University has appealed for calm after a medical student who has been quarantined since last Wednesday has tested positive for the coronavirus. Picture: Chris Collingridge/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
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Wits University has appealed for calm after a medical student who has been quarantined since last Wednesday has tested positive for the coronavirus. Picture: Chris Collingridge/African News Agency (ANA) Archives 924

Wits student tests positive for Covid-19, 350 students possibly affected

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Mar 15, 2020

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Cape Town - The University of Witwatersrand on Sunday revealed that it was informed that the medical student who has been quarantined since last Wednesday has tested positive for the coronavirus (Covid-19). 

The student was asymptomatic and attended classes last Monday and Tuesday, without knowledge that the student had contracted the virus, the university said in a statement on Sunday.
 
In light of this, the university has made the following immediate decisions:

  • The cancellation of all contact classes for the Graduate Entry Medical Programme 1 - MBBCh 3 classes. The academic programme will continue online.
  • All students in the affected student’s class have been instructed to go into self-quarantine for 14 days with immediate effect.
  • The Faculty is personally reaching out to each of the 350 students who could be affected. They will receive the full support of the Faculty, including the requisite monitoring and testing.
  • The Dean of Students, Mr Jerome September, will coordinate arrangements for students who live in residences, and who require self-isolation. All students who require assistance should contact Thembelihle Dlamini on 0728390223. Those who require counselling can call the 24 hour Wits student support number on 0800 111 331.  

The Wits Senior Executive Team is meeting on Sunday afternoon to decide on the way forward for the faculty and all other university activities. An update will follow this evening, it said. In the interim, Wits University has appealed to the university's community to remain calm. 

"Please be assured that we are managing this issue and making decisions based on the best medical advice available.

"This is an anxiety causing time for the university community and the country as a whole. However, if we all take a pragmatic approach to this pandemic it is very likely that the country will get through this crisis. Importantly, it is everybody’s responsibility to protect themselves so that we also protect all other South Africans and most importantly the most vulnerable in our society," the university statement said.

"We will get through this difficult period together."

Earlier on Sunday Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced that 51 cases of coronavirus has been confirmed. This means that South Africa's numbers have increased by 13 since Saturday. 

Gauteng has 7 news cases; the Western Cape 5 and Kwazulu-Natal 1.

The Department of Health has announced the launch of a special website and Whatsapp group for the public to stay informed about the coronavirus in South Africa.

Visit: sacoronavirus.co.za/ or join the WhatsApp group on 0600 123 456.

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