Higher Health 24 hour tollfree mental health hotline
Under the guidance of the Department of Higher Education and Training and in support with the SA Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG), HIGHER HEALTH has mapped the mental health and substance abuse priorities related to COVID-19 within the post-schooling sector. A tailor-made three-tier programme considers why and how students and staff may be impacted and how to assist individuals who experience problems. Read more
Prof Linda du Plessis, as part of a panel discussion on RSG, talks to the impact of Covid-19 on the NWU
Covid-19 positive persons:
As of today, Friday, 25 September 2020, we are aware of a cumulative total of 106 colleagues, students and contract workers who have tested positive for coronavirus. These persons and their families are or were in quarantine or self-isolation in compliance with the relevant regulations and protocols.
We are pleased to report that 95 or the 106 persons who were positive have now recovered from the virus. This shows a recovery rate of close to 90%.
Contact with Covid-19 positive persons:
Approximately 361 people (staff, students and contract workers) may have been in contact with persons who have tested positive. Of the 361 persons who have been in quarantine or self-isolation, 314 of them have completed the prescribed period and have been cleared. We remain cautiously optimistic and urge all members of the NWU family to adhere to the regulations and protocols that are aimed to curb the spread of this pandemic.
Please take care and protect yourselves and those around you.
25 September 2020: Generic Guidelines: Student Life and Residence & Catering Environment
25 September 2020
As part of the interim measures and directives implemented by the University Management Committee (UMC) on the 16th March 2020 (available on the NWU website) in reaction to COVID-19, the following additional guidelines serve to provide further guidance and clarity with specific reference to the Student Life and Residence & Catering environment.
27 August 2020: Guidelines for Ensuring Compliance and consequence management regarding non-compliance with COVID-19 Protocols and Regulations
27 August 2020
The purpose of this document is to provide employees and students with guidelines on how to comply with the provisions of the National Regulations as well as NWU protocols, regulations and directives and relating to COVID-19. It is also to provide the entire NWU Community with the necessary steps to ensure compliance, how to report non-compliance and the consequences of non-compliance.
6 August 2020: Library and Information Services during COVID-19
06 August 2020
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we hereby communicate the following procedures to students and staff relating to the gradual responsible reopening of the NWU Library and Information Service. Moves towards the reopening of libraries globally are increasingly on the agenda as countries look to lift broader restrictions. Read the protocols on Library and Information Services during COVID-19 here.
28 July 2020: COVID-19 Occupational Health and Safety
14 July 2020: Urgent process to follow to ensure effective contact tracing
In terms of the consolidated Covid-19 direction on health and safety in the workplace, issued by the Department of Employment and Labour on 04 June 2020 - The employer must provide “administrative support to any contact-tracing measures implemented by the Department of Health”. This will assist South Africa in containing the Covid-19 outbreak by interrupting the transmission cycle.
What is Contact Tracing?
It is the identification and follow-up of persons who may have come into contact with an infected person.
Definition of a Contact?
A person who may have come into contact with an infected person, in this instance a person infected with Covid-19. Two types of contacts exists:
- Close Contact or High Risk Exposure (HRE): Any person having had face-face-to-face contact (≤1 metres) with a Covid-19 case for more than 15 minutes with either no PPE or with PPE failure.
- Casual Contact or Low Risk Exposure (LRE): Anyone not meeting the definition for a close contact but with possible exposure. LRE of > 1 metre away from a Covid-19 case for <15 minutes or <1 metre but either health worker or source wearing appropriate PPE.
What we as the NWU will do?
To assist in contract tracing and to protect the well-being of our employees, students, contractors and visitors. The North West University hereby introduces the “NWU Covid-19 Contact Tracing Registers”.
Completion of the register by NWU employees (get the register here):
- All employees must complete the register when on the NWU premises. The register can be completed and maintained in electronic or hard copy format. Records must be maintained for 30 days.
The register must be completed by NWU employees in the following cases:
- Any visit by an external visitor(s) or contractors to the employee’s immediate workplace.
- Any visits or meetings between NWU employees - Note: not normal daily workplace colleagues.
- Places the employee visits when on the premises of the NWU (buildings and areas).
- If face to face meetings are conducted, it is the responsibility of the meeting convener to complete his/her tracing register for all person at the meeting. Other persons at the meeting are also encouraged to complete their register, as it will only assist the tracing process if required.
- Daily workplace colleagues must be listed on the the Department of Health contract tracing register if an employee test positive for Covid-19.
Completion of the register by NWU students (get the register here):
- All students must compete the register when on the NWU premises. The register can be completed and maintained in electronic or hard copy format. Records must be maintained for 30 days.
The register must be completed by students in the following cases:
- Places the student visit’s daily while on the NWU premises.
- Any NWU employees the student engages with.
- Any student(s) the student engages with where there is close contact (≤1 meters and/or ≥15 minutes.
Completion of tracing register by Service providers/Year Contractors/Contractors at the NWU
- Service providers/contractor to keep a site register to record visitors and their contacts at the NWU.
- Roaming employees must keep a daily tracing register for all person(s) they interact with and buildings/areas they visit.
- The register(s) to be kept by the service provider/contractor for 90 days (Records).
- Service providers/contractors to report immediately as per NWU Covid-19 SOP if there is any possible positive case or positive case within their workforce employed at the NWU.
Contact the NWU Health Care Centre for help via the emails addresses below:
2 June 2020: NWU Covid-19 OHS specifications for service providers/year contractors
18 May 2020: NWU Facilities Cleaning Protocol
18 May 2020
This guidance provides instructions on the cleaning and disinfection of lecture halls, ablution facilities, cafeterias and kiosks and other common areas where students and staff frequent on a regular basis within the NWU, in order to mitigate the threat posed by the COVID-19 disease. Get the Facilities Cleaning Protocol.
29 April 2020: Directive on the use of Computer Laboratories
Effective 29 April 2020 until further notice
As a result of a developing pandemic of COVID-19 disease, it is important to communicate the following procedures to students and staff in relation to the use of computer laboratories. Read more
8 April 2020: Physical distancing protocol
8 April 2020
Physical distancing (also referred to social distancing) means measures taken to restrict the possible spread of infectious diseases and includes increasing physical distance between individuals; limiting travel; avoiding public transportation, public spaces, and social, religious and other gatherings; working from home, and minimising close contact between individuals. As a result of a developing pandemic of COVID-19 disease, it is important to communicate the following procedures to students and staff in relation to social distancing.
8 April 2020: Staff and students on quarantine and isolation for suspected or confirmed COVID-19 disease
8 April 2020
As a result of a developing pandemic of COVID-19 disease it is important to communicate the following procedures to student and staff in relation to possible infection, reporting, isolation, quarantine and containment on campus. Read the directive to staff and students on quarantine and isolation for suspected or confirmed COVID-19 disease
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
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.
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.
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 http://distance.nwu.ac.za/coronavirus for more information.
COVID-19 information and updates
From NWU News
Latest address by the president - COVID-19 alert level 1
16 September 2020
The move to alert level 1 will take effect from midnight on Sunday 20 September 2020. Read the president's full statement
COVID-19 alert level 2 measures in the post-school education and training sector
26 August 2020
Latest address by the president - COVID-19 alert level 2
South Africa is placed on alert level 2, with effect from midnight on Monday, the 17th of August 2020. Read the president's full statement.
Statement by the President on efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic
12 July 2020
Phased-in reopening of Higher Education
10 June 2020
Latest address by Minister Blade Nzimande
6 June 2020
Latest address by the president
24 May 2020
Post-school education sector response to COVID-19
23 May 2020
Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation's statement on the implementation of measures by the post-school education sector in response to COVID-19 epidemic. Read more
Q&A on measures to phase out the lockdown and phase in strategic functions in the PSET sector
7 May 2020
Statements by Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology
30 April 2020
Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation statement on the measures to phase out the lockdown and phasing in of PSET strategic functions. Read more
Statement by President Cyril Ramaphosa on South Africa's response to the Coronavirus pandemic, including a gradual and phased recovery of economic activity.
23 April 2020
"...We have accordingly decided that beyond Thursday 30 April, we should begin a gradual and phased recovery of economic activity. We will implement a risk-adjusted strategy through which we take a deliberate and cautious approach to the easing of current lockdown restrictions." Read more
Plans for Academic Year 2020 and response to COVID-19 pandemic
21 April 2020
Read here about plans to save the academic year 2020 for public universities, information about students remaining in university residences, research and other work of universities contributing to the prevention and management of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Statement by President Cyril Ramaphosa on measures to combat the COVID-19 epidemic and the extension of the lockdown
9 April 2020
"After careful consideration of the available evidence, the National Coronavirus Command Council has decided to extend the nation-wide lockdown by a further two weeks beyond the initial 21 days." Read more
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
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
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: https://sacoronavirus.co.za/category/press-releases-and-notices/
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
WHO Director General - Ways to stay healthy
Click to see a video by the WHO Director General on 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
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
How it spreads and keeping safe
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.
How to keep safe
There is currently no vaccine available to protect one against the Coronavirus infection. Read these precautions to help you feel safe.
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.
- Check your temperature twice daily.
Monitor for the following signs and symptoms which can vary from mild to severe:
- Shortness of breath
- Sore throat
- Body pains
- 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.
Higher Health Protocol on Institutional Response to a confirmed COVID-19 case within PSET Institutions