Coronavirus (COVID-19)

In early January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) flagged the discovery of a virus, known as the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). It has been identified to be zoonotic, meaning it can spread from animals to humans. The virus is very contagious and spreads from one infected person to another, through coughing and sneezing, close personal contact, etc. The infected person presents cold-like symptoms and respiratory tract illnesses. Read more

In the event of possible infection


Click on the flowchart to see the actions required when a student or staff member believes that they are infected.



Contact us via for any Covid-19 (Coronavirus) queries or find contact details for NWU Health Care Centres here.



See guidelines and support for lecturers in the transition to online learning as well as online training opportunities for lecturers and how to support students to continue teaching and learning online. Read more


Protocols and directives

30 March 2020: Library and Information Services during COVID-19

30 March 2020

As a result of the developing pandemic of the COVID-19 disease, it is important to communicate procedures to students (especially our postgraduate students) and staff in relation to the use and services of NWU Libraries. Read the protocols on Library and Information Services during COVID-19 here.

25 March 2020: Protection Services

25 March 2020

A national state of disaster was published in Government Gazette No. 43096 on Sunday, 15 March 2020, in terms of Section 27 (2) of the Disaster Management Act, 2002 (Act No.57 of 2002) due to the developing pandemic of Covid-19 disease. The procedures mentioned below were developed to indicate the protocol to be observed by protection officers to avoid spreading the disease. Read more


25 March 2020: Generic guidelines: Student Life and Residence & Catering Environment

16 March 2020: Directive on Formal and Informal Sports Events, Gatherings, and Meetings

Effective 16 March 2020 until further notice

As a result of a developing pandemic of COVID-19 disease (caused by the new coronavirus SARS-CoV2), it has become necessary to restrict unnecessary gatherings, meetings, and sports events.

The reason to restrict these events is to limit as far as possible the spread of the virus that causes disease.

This directive is applicable to all staff and students of North-West University, unless otherwise specified or unless clearly inapplicable by the context.

In the event that there is uncertainty about the scope of application of this directive, in the case of staff members, contact your supervisor or line manager, and in the case of students, contact the relevant Director: Student Life or the relevant Academic Director’s office, in the case of academic enquiries.

1       Sporting Events

All sporting events, held on premises owned by or under the control of North-West University, are to be cancelled or postponed indefinitely with effect from 16 March 2020.

This prohibition extends to all inter-campus, and inter-residence sporting events, including practice sessions or informal sporting activity.

All gymnasia on the premises of the North-West University are closed with effect from 16 March 2020 until further notice. Staff and students are requested to exercise great care when using facilities not under North-West University control.

2       Gatherings on or off campuses

The basic principle is that staff and students need to observe and practice social distancing ie keep a distance of 1 metre between oneself and other people. Practice the good hygiene measures recommended on this webpage. Avoid all physical contact including handshaking. Gatherings that are unnecessary for the continuation of core academic and support functions are to be avoided completely.

All social and informal gatherings are prohibited on the premises of the North-West University, unless they are broadcast by video or video-conferencing (eg the streaming on YouTube of a student debate where the debate takes place between a few debaters who maintain an appropriate social distance without any audience). For permission to hold an event of this nature, permission must be obtained from the relevant Campus Director: Student Life after consultation with the Specialist: Occupational Health.

Although the NWU cannot control social and informal gatherings off-campus, gatherings of more than 100 people are prohibited in terms of the government directive, and students are strongly advised not to organise or participate in any social or informal gatherings, of whatever size.

3       Meetings

All meetings, whether formal or informal, should be conducted by means of teleconferencing or video-conferencing or other remote forms of meeting, whenever possible. Social distancing is to be practiced at such meeting by the maintenance of a distance of at least 1 metre between participants. Practice the good hygiene measures recommended on this webpage. Avoid all physical contact including handshaking.

Meetings should be avoided unless absolutely essential. Utilise the officially supported technology solutions such as Vidyo or NextCloud, or utilise other solutions with which participants are familiar.

Face-to-face meetings should be avoided as much as possible.

4       Academic functions

All academic functions such as inaugural lectures, public academic lectures and graduation ceremonies (whether on or off campuses) are postponed until further notice.

Approved by the University Management Committee on 16 March 2020

16 March 2020: Directive on Official and Private Travel by Staff and Students and Receiving International Visitors

Effective 16 March 2020 until further notice

As a result of a developing pandemic of COVID-19 disease (caused by the new coronavirus SARS-CoV2), it has become necessary to monitor and restrict international and local travel by students and staff and to regulate visits by international visitors to the NWU.

Travel generally and international travel, in particular, is strongly discouraged in the light of the developing pandemic.


All official international travel (to a country other than South Africa) by students of the North-West University, organised under the auspices of the North-West University, is prohibited without the written permission of the International Travel Committee (described more fully below). Apply for permission using this form:

In the case of private international travel by students, the student must notify the relevant campus Occupational Health Centre at this email address in advance of any planned visit, including the expected return date. Upon return, the student must notify the relevant campus Occupational Health Centre at this email address of his or her return.

The student must then remain in self-quarantine for a period of 14 days. After certification by the relevant campus Occupational Health Centre, the student may return to campus.

Non-essential official local student travel is also prohibited, unless permission has been obtained from the relevant Campus Director: Student Life.

This directive is applicable to ALL contact students and distance students (in the event that a distance student has to visit a particular campus or learning support centre for some or other reason).


All official international travel (to a country other than South Africa) by staff of the North-West University, no matter how the travel is funded, is prohibited without the written permission of the International Travel Committee (described more fully below). Apply for permission using this form:

In the case of private international visits, the employee should notify his or her line manager and the relevant campus Occupational Health Centre in writing before the planned visit, including the expected return date at this email address Upon return, the employee must notify the relevant campus Occupational Health Centre at this email address of his or her return.

The employee must then remain in self-quarantine for a period of 14 days. The staff member will be on risk leave or work remotely during this period. After certification by the relevant campus Occupational Health Centre, the employee may return to campus.

This directive is applicable to all employees, whether employed full time or part time, permanently, on a fixed term contract or temporarily.

Non-essential official local travel by staff is strongly discouraged, and if any local travel is undertaken, reasonable precautions must be taken to reduce the risk posed by COVID-19. Staff are also discouraged from undertaking private local travel, and reasonable precautions must be taken to reduce the risk posed by COVID-19

Any staff member who is currently in a country other than South Africa on an official or private visit, must in writing report their return to South Africa to Dr Emile Kotzé at this email address The staff member must not report to their place of work but must, if the nature of their work permits, work remotely in a state of self-quarantine or, if remote work is not possible, be on special leave for 14 days. After certification by the relevant campus Occupational Health Centre, the employee may return to campus.

International Visitors

Staff members or students, who wish to invite international visitors (whether staff or students) (from a country other than South Africa) to the NWU for an official visit, should consider whether the engagement cannot be conducted virtually by means of tele-conferencing or postponed to a later date.

In the event that staff members or students wish nevertheless to invite an international visitor to NWU or an international visitor (including but not limited to sportspersons, academic or research visitors or administrative staff) has indicated an intention to visit NWU, and the visitor is from a country from which travel to South Africa has not been prohibited, such an invitation or visit cannot go ahead unless written permission of the International Travel Committee (described more fully below) has been obtained.

The relevant department or unit or stakeholder must apply in writing on this form ( for permission to host the visitor.

These arrangements are applicable to all departments and entities within the university framework.

Requests and enquiries related to the above arrangements may be directed to: Dr Emile Kotzé (+27 (0)18 299 4345).

International Travel Committee

The international travel committee is appointed by the Vice-Chancellor to take decisions in respect of matters falling within the ambit of this directive. It consists of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning (or a secundus), the Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation (or a secundus) and the Specialist: Occupational Health.

Approved by the University Management Committee on 16 March 2020.


NWU communiques regarding COVID-19

  6 April 2020: Beware of disinformation

6 April 2020

We trust that you are well and keeping safe. Please note that the University Management is working with all relevant stakeholders to put in place the necessary interventions and systems working towards the successful continuation of the 2020 academic year. We have noted some communiques that purport to be updating our stakeholders about the university’s position regarding the lockdown and the continuation of the academic year. Please ignore and desist from distributing any communication that is not published on the official platforms of the North-West University. 

All official statements/communiques of the university are published on the university’s official communication platforms such as eFundi, website and the various digital media accounts. Please follow us on the following platforms for regular updates:

Official website:

Find us on Facebook:

Follow us on Twitter:

North-West University: @theNWU



Issued by Corporate Relations and Marketing 

30 March 2020: Challenges facing students due to online-based learning

Starting the online programme

The start date for the commencement of the online programme is 15 April 2020 so that we are aligned to the potential re-opening of the schools. If the lockdown persists, and the relevant Ministers extend the recess again, such that learners, students and staff cannot return or commence with formal teaching and learning and in the online mode, we may have to delay this start. 

Access to online learning

A great deal of thinking about student backgrounds (remote areas included) has been undertaken by the leadership of faculties. A survey is being conducted among students where they were asked if they have access to electricity, devices and Wi-Fi. 

No assumptions were made that all students come from the same demographic backgrounds. Instead, the assumption is that students' needs will differ and access to the teaching-learning programme should, therefore, be supported as best as possible, keeping in mind that solutions are so dependent on services being or becoming available if the lockdown eases up, or if it is maintained.

Students were asked for information about what, if any, devices they possess. It may well be that those in need can be supplied with such (depending on courier and delivery services being available, funding becoming available).

Remote and rural areas without internet connection or electricity
Students were asked about this via the survey to determine the need for making available the teaching-learning programme in print mode (as for our distance education students). Again, there are potential constraints that apply; the availability of courier and postal services, and further announcements by the relevant Ministers (DBE/ DHET) on the recess period and the re-opening of institutions.

Scanners, printers and submission of assignments
We will be able to continue with online learning, provided students have devices and adequate data. The higher education sector is currently in negotiation for a 0 data cost for access to certain university webpages, such as eFundi. If we can secure this, our students will not need data as such, but only a device to access the relevant sites. For distance students, and in some cases for our contact students in remote areas and without access to devices/network coverage and electricity, it may be necessary to write assignments out. In these instances, postal services/ courier services will be an obvious solution.

Support for students concerning access to the online or distance mode 

  • Regarding distance mode, we already have thousands of students who study in programmes offered jointly at undergraduate level in both the contact and the distance mode (the BEd is the example that comes to mind). Thus the university already has that capacity, experience and expertise to support students.
  • Where the online mode is concerned, the majority of our modules (about 95%) already have an online Efundi presence. This is basic at present: it allows academics to upload resources and teaching guidelines. It allows for students to download these resources and also to upload their assignments when due. We are not anticipating developing high-end virtual learning as not all students will be able to access this consistently (differences in network coverage around SA and beyond, and affordability are some of the issues). The priority needs to be straightforward low-tech teaching and learning, accessibility and 0 data costs (hopefully) for students and staff.
  • Disadvantage/ advantage: Our university serves a wide variety of students, from disadvantaged and advantaged backgrounds, urban and rural, all genders, mature people and young people. Our commitment is to all, on the basis that those who need different types of support to access the programme are provided. Thus the survey (probably the first of a few of such surveys) helps us to plan for someone from Taung as they do for someone from Three Rivers, but the effectiveness of this planning depends on students communicating their needs on the one hand, and us being able to support these as well, on the other hand.


Classes commencing only on return to residences

The first problem with this is that we do not know when a return to campus will be allowed to happen, or indeed if it will be possible. In countries where infection rates continue to rise, the lockdown has been effective for 7 weeks. And further that even in conditions of lockdown, there needs to be made available the possibility of students keeping themselves occupied with formal work, and universities working together to rescue the academic year. The Minister has advised as such also. The risks of not doing this are multiple and unaffordable for institutions: students cannot afford a lost year; staff have to continue to work, services have to continue to be paid for, and people even in isolation need structure and routine that stimulate their development and growth. In light of that, and if we can do and afford it, it would, of course, be better to provide devices to students who need it, and better to continue teaching in the online mode or in the distance mode, than to lose the year.

Assignment due dates and examinations

The university has already communicated on revising of due dates for students and indeed for staff, arising from the extended recess period and the Corona crisis lockdown. We anticipate that instead of an exam, that open book online or open-book assignments/ projects will be set for students that will not require special venues. Obviously this is far from ideal, especially in those modules where lab-work, work-integrated learning, etc. apply. For those modules, the faculties are also considering different arrangements. Exams will inevitably have to shift and the loss of planned recess period in July and December is a real possibility. As yet though we plan from week to week because the virus changes from day to day and similarly its impact and reach. 

Living conditions not conducive to work and study

The crisis has intervened dramatically in domestic and working environments. The NWU has a lot of empathy for the crowded conditions many students face in their home environments. Our academics are also affected by this, whilst simultaneously developing a better on-line or paper-based distance offering for students. All these factors weigh heavily, but the fact is we are not living in a normal situation at any level.  We must all do our best to make possible the need for education provision, for our collective welfare as a country. 

Looking after your mental health during die COVID-19 time

We are very much aware that even if the university does everything within its power to service our students via the online mode or via the distance mode, which we may still find that a number of students could not keep up with or participate in all activities of the academic requirements of their programmes. In such cases, the faculties will offer "boot-camps/ crash-courses" once these students can return to our campuses in an effort for them to catch up and to support them to also complete the academic semester, and year, if needs be.

Prof Robert Balfour
Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning

24 March 2020: NWU arrangements – nationwide lockdown

24 March 2020

Dear colleague

We find ourselves in an unprecedented and unimaginable situation. A situation in which the growing concern around the coronavirus outbreak can be felt by all of us. Please be assured that your concerns and anxieties about the pandemic, as well as your health and safety at work are our top priority.

The President's announcement of a nation-wide lockdown leaves us no option but to also put the university into lockdown at midnight on 26 March. During an urgent University Management Committee meeting this afternoon, 24 March, the implications of this announcement were carefully considered. Our concern is to ensure that within the constraints caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the measures to contain it, we are able to complete the academic year successfully.

We have already closed many of our residences and the few students (mainly international students) who are unable to return home, will be accommodated in designated residences on our campuses.

Many of our staff are already working from home, and we encourage employees to use this time productively and continue their work from home while complying with the applicable directives of the nation-wide lockdown.

Leave and working from home

During the lockdown period, staff will not be required to apply for any leave. It is therefore not necessary to complete the work from home documents. For the removal of any computer equipment (to allow you to work from home), the Authorisation for use of assets off-campus form must be completed and handed in.

In order to support and enable staff to work from home, managers will engage with staff in their portfolios to determine their needs and to ensure that everyone has the necessary tools to work from home.

In the case of IT, Protection Services and other services where some work can only be performed on site, permission will be granted for staff to work on campus as and when necessary under strict protocols. Universities South Africa (USAf) is facilitating a method to provide staff working in essential services with the necessary documents authorising them travel and access to campus.

Access to campuses

Strict access control will be enforced during the lockdown period. Only the following gates will remain open:

  • Mafikeng Campus: Main gate
  • Potchefstroom Campus: Main gate, Esselen Street entrance, West Campus entrance and entrance to Faculty of Engineering
  • Vaal Triangle Campus: Main gate
Online learning

During the lockdown the NWU will continue to prepare to offer its academic programme via online mode of delivery. The situation will constantly be monitored and the university community will be advised in the event of any changes. Even though we are not venturing into new territory, delivering our teaching and learning programmes online will surely bring about more challenges and will undoubtedly put staff and students under pressure. We need to work as a team and proactively share identified challenges to ensure successful delivery of our programmes.

We urge you to adhere to the President's announcement to protect yourselves and to assist in curbing the spread of Covid-19. While this measure will have a considerable impact on people's livelihoods and on our economy, the human cost of not adhering to this action would be much greater.

The NWU Response Team will continue to monitor the situation and will constantly update you on any possible changes.

It is critical that we use the formal communication channels created by the university to verify information and not spread rumours or unconfirmed information.

Please also make use of the email address created for all Covid-19 enquiries:

All the latest information is also constantly made available on this page.

Thank you for the hard work done during this period – with your sustained support we would be able to continue to take the NWU forward.

Take care of yourselves and your loved ones.

Kind regards


Prof Dan Kgwadi
NWU Vice-chancellor and Principal

23 March 2020: Frequently asked questions by students

20 March 2020: NWU: Managing the spread of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

20 March 2020

Since the President’s declaration of a national disaster on Sunday, 15 March, the number of infections has increased drastically and some of these are local infections. It is crucial that all stakeholders must put in place the necessary measures to prevent the spread of the virus. The University Management Committee convened an urgent meeting on Friday, 20 March 2020, to review and consider its response to the developing COVID-19 pandemic and made decisions in relation to students and staff. 



  • In the interest of the health and safety of staff, students and other stakeholders of the NWU, the decision has been taken to close the residences on all campuses with effect from 20 March 2020 until further notice.
  • Students will have until 24 March 2020 to vacate the residences.
  • Students who are unable to leave the residences because they have a documented reason to remain, would be permitted subsequent to an approval process as administrated by residence officers and house parents.
  • International students who are unable to return to their countries due to the closure of borders may apply for permission to remain through the Global Engagement office (International office).
  • COVID-19 Special Residence Application form and guidelines



In order to promote the health and safety of students and staff within the NWU’s public facilities:

  • Most of the facilities on campuses will be closed until further notice. In particular, the IT laboratories, the libraries, and 24 hour facilities.
  • For the few students who may remain on campus, essential emergency services will be available. The counselling service of Thuso (counselling departments) will be available telephonically or by email to assist students during the period of the recess.


Teaching-Learning and Research for all students

  • All students are on extended recess until 14 April 2020. The university plans to continue with online learning from 15 April.
  • Students will continue with the online learning until contact classes resume.
  • Postgraduate students and postdoctoral fellows who have ongoing laboratory experiments that cannot be discontinued may apply for permission to remain in residence and/or on campus with a motivation from the supervisor/promoter to be submitted to the Executive Dean or Deputy Dean: Research.
  • Arrangements regarding teaching-learning and research will be communicated online as and when plans are approved.
  • The DVC: Teaching-Learning and Executive Deans are developing the capacity for online programme delivery.


NSFAS Allowances

The full payment of the April NSFAS allowance will be brought forward to be paid out electronically as soon as possible.



  • In the distance learning environment, the scheduled handover ceremonies will be postponed until further notice. However, the certificates will be couriered soon to all qualifying diplomates and graduands.
  • Graduands due to graduate during April/May will have their degrees conferred in absentia and will receive their degrees by courier subject to the university’s financial rules.
  • Candidates due to be awarded diplomas during April/May will have their diplomas awarded in absentia and will receive their certificates by courier subject to the university’s financial rules.

During this difficult period, staff and students are requested to practice the necessary social distancing and hygiene protocol to reduce the risk of infection, wherever they find themselves.

19 March 2020: NWU recess from 17 March to 14 April 2020

After the President declared a state of disaster on Sunday 15 March 2020, the NWU took a decision to bring the recess forward to start on 17 March 2020. We expected to continue with delivering our academic programmes on 30 March 2020 in the online mode.
Subsequently, the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology directed that the recess for universities and other tertiary institutions would commence on 18 March 2020 until 14 April 2020. 
From 15 April onwards, the NWU intends to offer its academic programme via online learning. The situation will constantly be monitored and the university community will be advised in the event of any changes.

University Management

17 March 2020: Urgent arrangements (staff and students): Covid-19

Following the declaration of a national disaster relating to the COVID-19 pandemic and the statement by the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, the North-West University management met to review the plans and processes that have been put in place to address the risks posed by the pandemic to both internal and external stakeholders, as well as to implement the necessary measures that ensures the continuation of university’s essential academic functions. The following measures were approved;

  • The recess will be from 17 to 29 March 2020.
  • All graduation ceremonies have been postponed until further notice.
  • Teaching-learning will be conducted through an online mode via eFundi from 30 March until 30 April 2020. Work-Integrated Learning, Work-Place Learning, and practicals will be rescheduled for later in the semester/year.
  • Professional bodies will be engaged regarding assessments for work-integrated learning and work-place learning.
  • Students who elect to leave the NWU during the recess may continue their studies through the online mode after the recess.
  • Students who are unable to leave the residences will be accommodated in designated residences and must observe social distancing and hygiene practices as advised.
  • Postgraduate students who need to engage in practical or laboratory-based work will be granted access to facilities through the directors or deans. This will be applicable to groups of 15 students or less.
  • Facilities such as libraries and other services deemed critical will continue to be available.
  • The situation will be constantly monitored up to 30 April and the university community advised accordingly.

Students are encouraged to contact their faculties for more information regarding the academic programme and activities.

The University Management also approved directives in regard to formal and informal sports events, gatherings and meetings, official and private travel by staff and students and receiving international visitors. Please read the directives here below.

Kind regards

University Management Committee


NWU response team

The NWU response team has your best interest at heart. This team was established on 2 March and consists of all the relevant role players. The purpose of this team is to:

  • Promote the health and safety of staff, students and other stakeholders; 
  • Identify critical business processes that might be impacted and possibly disrupted; 
  • Recognise, manage and minimise threats related to the virus; 
  • Ensure that emergency services respond promptly to events related to the virus; 
  • Ensure the NWU is able to continue with essential functions during periods of disruption due to the virus; 
  • To restore normality to NWU business processes through business recovery and communication plans.

Contact us via

Information for distance learning students

Learning Support Centres for NWU ODL students will be closed from 17 March 2020 until further notice.  Lectures will be pre-recorded so that students do not miss out on the necessary support.  The protocols to download these lectures will be sent via text messags to affected students. Please visit for more information.


COVID-19 information and updates

From NWU News

NWU engineers rising to the COVID-19 challenge

6 April 2020

The world, and now more recently our nation, is faced with difficult times as the recent COVID-19 pandemic turns life as we know it upside down. A team at the Faculty of Engineering from the North-West University (NWU), in collaboration with other experts involved in this unsettling battle, is rising to the challenge to support our government in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more


Coronavirus pandemic: economic-impact scenarios in an uncertain environment

4 April 2020

A development economist from the North-West University (NWU) says for South Africa to survive the current coronavirus pandemic, the current lockdown must be a success and the virus must be brought under control by the end of April. Read more


Let the NWU help you cope during lockdown

4 April 2020

Have you been constantly anxious, having panic attacks or feeling depressed since South Africa went into lockdown due to COVID-19? Has the loss of everyday social connections left you frustrated, angry and demotivated with a general low mood? If you answered yes to any of these questions, the social distancing and lockdown of the country could have affected you more that you realize. Read more


Take a 3D online tour of the NWU’s art exhibitions during lockdown

2 April 2020

With the country being on lock down for the next few weeks, the North-West University (NWU) Gallery will entertain you from the comfort of your own home. Read more


Not all superheroes wear capes

2 April 2020

In the turbulent times in which we currently find ourselves, huge emphasis is being placed on the major role that healthcare workers play in our societies. Read more


Intervention creates hope for challenged families and children

27 March 2020

The daily routines, activities, and socialisation of every family in South Africa are changing fast due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Parents suddenly have to balance working from home, minding children and ensuring hygiene practices to help fight the spreading of the virus. Read more


Focus your mind to keep sane during a lockdown period

26 March 2020

With the recent announcement of a 21-day lockdown as a measure to tackle the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19), individuals will most certainly experience a pshycological impact due to limited social interaction. Read more


NWU economist says lockdown comes at the right time

24 March 2020

“President Cyril Ramaphosa’s lockdown of South Africa to combat the Covid-19 virus comes at the right time,” says an economist of the NWU Business School. Read more


Psychological impact of COVID-19 and what to do about it

24 March 2020

Two psychologists from the NWU say that, against the background of the current situation regarding COVID-19, it is evident that different individuals respond to this crisis in different ways. Read more


Public lecture: Update on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

11 March 2020

All staff, students and members of public is invited to attend a public lecture (entitled Update on Coronavirus (COVID-19) by Dr HT Mufhandu at the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences in Potchefstroom. Read more


Effective border control to curb Coronavirus

9 March 2020

With South Africa’s third COVID-19 case confirmed over the weekend, a North-West University (NWU) academic believes that effective border control is needed to curb the further spread of the Coronavirus. Read more


NWU virologist shares facts on the Coronavirus

28 February 2020

On Wednesday 26 February the World Health Organization indicated that the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak has infected approximately 81 109 people worldwide, and killed 2 762.

The new virus was first detected late last year in Wuhan City, China, and has since spread to other countries.  

North-West University (NWU) academic and virologist in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences Dr Hazel Tumelo Mufhandu, recently presented a public lecture on the Coronavirus outbreak.

Her lecture titled “All about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)”, was aimed at telling the public more about the virus. Read more


National news

Minister Zweli Mkhize confirms 2nd death and total of 1280 cases of Coronavirus COVID-19

29 March 2020

As of today, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases is 1280. This is an increase of 93 from the previously reported cases. It is with sadness that we also announce the second death of a patient who had tested positive for #COVID19. #CoronavirusInSA Read more 


Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation update statement following President Cyril Ramaphosa addressing the Nation on the Government response to Covid 19

28 March 2020

Read more


Media release from the Minister of Health

27 March 2020

Today, South Africa has 1170 confirmed cases. This is an increase of 243 new cases from yesterday’s announcement. Read more


Statement by president Cyril Ramaphosa

23 March 2020

Statement by president Cyril Ramaphosa on escalation of measures to combat COVID-19 epidemic


Latest confirmed cases of COVID-19

23 March 2020

"Fellow South Africans, as of today, South Africa now has 402 confirmed cases of COVID-19. This means there has been an increase of 128 from yesterday’s announcement." Read more


Government press releases and notices

Stay informed! Get all the latest press releases and notices as issued by the Department of Health here:


Statements by Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

16 March 2020

Click to read statements by Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology on measures to combat COVID-19 epidemic.


Statement by President Cyril Ramaphosa on measures to combat the COVID-19 epidemic

15 March 2020

"I am addressing you this evening on a matter of great national importance. The world is facing a medical emergency far graver than what we have experienced in over a century. The World Health Organisation has declared the coronavirus outbreak as a
global pandemic...We have decided to take urgent and drastic measures to manage the disease, protect the people of our country and reduce the impact of the virus on our society and on our economy. We have now declared a national state of disaster in terms of the Disaster Management Act...Following an extensive analysis of the progression of the disease worldwide and in South Africa, Cabinet has decided on the following measures..." Read more


Dr Zweli Mkhize confirms latest COVID-19 cases in South-Africa

15 March 2020

"As of today, 15 March 2020, the total number of confirmed cases is 51. This means that our numbers have increased by 13 since yesterday’s announcement. The breakdown per province is as follows..." Read more


Latest confirmed cases of COVID-19 in South Africa

11 March 2020

The Minister of Health wishes to inform the public that 6 new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed. This takes the total number of coronavirus positive patients in South Africa to 13. Read more


Four more cases of Covid-19 identified in South Africa - News24 (Extract from the media briefing by Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize

9 March 2020

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa has increased to seven, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize confirmed on Monday. Mkhize announced that four more people, who were part of the group of 10 who went on a ski trip to Italy, have tested positive for Covid-19. Included is a 38-year-old woman in KwaZulu Natal, her partner, a 45-year-old man, and a 38-year-old man.

The four have identified 65 people they have been in contact with who would be tested and monitored, according to Mkhize. Read more


Third confirmed case of COVID-19 in SA

8 March 2020

"Fellow South Africans, an announcement was made yesterday confirming the second case of COVID-19 in South Africa. In that statement, we indicated that the second patient is a direct contact of the first. We further indicated that they were a group of 10 people who had travelled to Italy.

We confirm that we traced all 10 of these individuals. Nine of them had returned to South Africa. The tenth did not and is therefore not in our country. This morning we have received results of the direct contact of the first patient, his wife. She had also travelled with him to Italy as part of the group of ten. I now wish to advise the public that she has tested positive for COVID-19 and is therefore the third confirmed case in South Africa..." Read more


Confirmation of second case of COVID-19 in SA

7 March 2020

The Minister of Health wishes to advise all South Africans that a second case of COVID-19 has now been confirmed in South Africa. Read more


The first case of COVID-19 Coronavirus reported in SA

5 March 2020

This morning, Thursday March 5, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases confirmed that a suspected case of COVID-19 has tested positive. Read more


Beware of fake news



WHO Director General - Ways to stay healthy



Signs and Symptoms of Coronavirus

  • Fever, sore throat
  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Runny nose & headaches
  • General feeling of malaise
  • Symptoms may go away on their own but experts advise seeking care early

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Who is most at risk?

  • Those with a weak immune system
  • COVID-19 infection is most dangerous to the elderly, and to people living with chronic diseases. Younger patients seem to have very low relative morbidity and mortality rates, though can carry and transmit the disease almost asymptomatically.
  • Any person with a documented travel history to China or any affected country within 21 days (as was revised after the initial release of the below document) before symptom onset 
  • Close physical contact with a confirmed patient with the Coronavirus
  • Healthcare worker/s who have been exposed to patients with severe acute respiratory infections
  • Direct contact with animal source or humans, in countries where the coronavirus is known

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How it spreads

Person-to-person spread
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Spread from contact with infected surfaces or objects
It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

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How to keep safe

There is currently no vaccine available to protect one against the Coronavirus infection. Transmission can bereduced when adhering to the below precautions:

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Information for identifying and assessing possible Coronavirus contacts

These guidelines are for the evaluation of employees who may be ill or who may have been exposed to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.

The current guideline for NWU employees or students is 21 days off-campus if the following applies to you:

  • If you have travelled overseas/abroad in the past 2 weeks.
  • If there was any close contact with a person who has the COVID-19 disease.
  • If you currently have a fever of 38 degrees or higher and respiratory illness with symptoms of shortness of breath or coughing.


 When at home for 21 days:
  • Check your temperature twice daily.
  • Monitor for the following signs and symptoms which can vary from mild to severe:
    • Fever
    • Shortness of breath
    • Sore throat
    • Body pains
    • Diarrhoea
  • Limit socialising until you are sure that there are no signs or symptoms of the disease.
  • If any symptoms should become apparent, consult your medical doctor immediately and inform the occupational health practitioners at the Healthcare Center.

Standard precautions to prevent contracting the disease:

  • Limit travelling, especially to the affected areas.
  • Apply cough etiquette by coughing into a tissue.
  • Wash your hands regularly.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Stay at home if you are ill.
  • Wear a mask when needed.


When the 21 days have passed, please make an appointment with the occupational health practitioners.




Sources of information: World Health Organization (WHO)Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Department of Health