Stellenbosch University (SU) is closely monitoring the developments surrounding the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19 caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2) that was declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO).
A contingency committee has been constituted consisting of various experts including staff from the Centre for Infectious Diseases (CID) and the Division of Medical Virology at the SU Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, the South African Centre for Epidemiological Modelling and Analysis (SACEMA), the SU Campus Health Service and others.
- The virus spreads through personal contact. Therefore the most efficient way to prevent yourself from being infected is to avoid close personal contact with people who are ill and may be infected.
- The situation keeps changing constantly. The Department of Health and the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) will keep everyone informed as the situation unfolds. It is each person's responsibility to stay updated and refrain from disseminating unconfirmed rumours.
- In the event of an outbreak it will be very important that people do not panic, but that every person fully cooperates with University Management and public health officials.
Symptoms include headaches, a fever, shortness of breath and coughing.
WHAT TO DO AND NOT TO DO
- If you think that you may be infected, do not go to the doctor, clinic or hospital unannounced as this may lead to unnecessary and unintended exposure of healthcare workers and others including sick people.
- In the meantime, stay at home and avoid close social contact.
- Call first to let them know that you are unwell so they can prepare to safely and efficiently receive you.
- Staff and students who fear they may be infected can contact Campus Health Services on the Stellenbosch Campus at tel 021 808 3496/3494, on the Tygerberg Campus at tel 021 938 9590, and after hours via the emergency number 076 431 0305.
- Wash your hands on a regular basis thoroughly with water and soap. If concerned, consider getting a hand sanitiser for when you are out and about (minimum alcohol content 70%).
- Cover your mouth with a cloth or your elbow when coughing or sneezing. Try not to contaminate surfaces with your excretions.
- It is strongly recommended that you get vaccinated against influenza (the 2020 vaccine will be available soon) and against pneumococcal disease (if indicated for you). This will reduce the burden on the healthcare system, preserve your ability to work, and might prevent you from being flagged as a potential COVID-19 case. Most importantly, it will help prevent illnesses, regardless of COVID-19.
- After consulting with role-players the Rectorate has decided to place a temporary ban on staff and students travelling to the following countries: China, South Korea, Italy and Iran
- A protocol has been put in place to limit the risk of international students, staff and visitors to Stellenbosch University.
SOURCES OF INFORMATION
The SU Management calls on the University community to please stay informed by reading regular posts that will be communicated on social media and the official website of the University.
The University will continue to monitor the situation closely and updates will be communicated.
Photo: Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (link for information)
NOTE: This is an update of an earlier version of this article