About 115 students have tested positive for COVID-19 at the University of Pretoria since 19 March. It is suspected the virus was contracted off-campus at one of the pubs and restaurants students frequent in Hatfield.

The university says the affected students are isolating at home or at facilities approved by the institution and the health department, while contact tracing and screening continue.

All organised student activities have been put on hold, but the university says it does not expect classes to be disrupted as only a few first-year students were allowed back into residence with the rest continuing with online classes.

“Students who test positive are either isolated at home or in facilities which have been approved by the Department of Health or the university. They are not isolated in any of the university residences. Contact tracing is currently underway and all the relevant authorities were notified and the university is working closely with them to implement the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the virus,” says university spokesperson, Rikus Delport.

The university says it is also working with the Department of Health and Higher Health to advise on the necessary steps to be taken and to provide health and well-being support, including discussions on how to deal with students’ risky behaviour off-campus.

“We remind students again of the importance of adhering to all the COVID-19 protocols as set out by government and also on our website. The success of protocols in protecting the health and safety of our communities is dependent on each and every one of us on accepting the responsibility to protect ourselves and also others through strict compliance,” says Delport.

On Friday, Higher Education Minister, Dr Blade Nzimande, expressed concern over reports of increases in coronavirus infections at the country’s tertiary institutions.

Coronavirus Cluster Outbreak Investigation Teams have been established to screen and test students and staff at higher education facilities across the country.

Below are latest coronavirus stats in SA: