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The Eastern Cape recorded its first confirmed novel coronavirus (COVID-19) case on Saturday, 21 March 2020, with the figure increasing to two as at the latest official update on Sunday, 22 March 2020.

These cases, among others, have brought the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Africa to 402.  This is an increase of 128 cases from yesterday’s figure, the highest one-day increase of cases in South Africa thus far.

According to the Health Ministry’s statements at the weekend, the first confirmed case in the Eastern Cape was of a 28-year-old female, who had travelled to Germany, while the second is of a 22-year-old male who had also returned from international travel.

In keeping with the national directive towards ensuring social distancing, the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality announced a closure of the city’s beaches and other public amenities yesterday.

At Nelson Mandela University, a skeleton staff providing critical services only remains on campus during the Recess period to maintain operations in preparation of the eventual resumption of normal activities.

A student, who returned to Port Elizabeth from an overseas trip at the weekend, has been placed in self-isolation for 14 day as a precautionary measure.

In addition, according to newspaper reports this morning, a Summerstrand resident is also in self-isolation after having come into contact with someone in Cape Town who later tested positive for COVID-19.

As at today, 227 people have been tested for the coronavirus in Port Elizabeth, with all the results being negative.    

Residence students were asked to vacate both on and accredited off-campus residences by Friday, 20 March 2020. In dealing with any issues that arose in this regard, University Management teamed up with the Student Representative Council (SRC) to establish a Rapid Response Team (RRT).

After the announcement of the need to vacate residences, students raised their concerns, mainly around how many students, particularly those on financial aid, who could not afford to travel home at this time.

The work of the RRT resulted in about 450 students from the Port Elizabeth residences being assisted with transport home to all provinces of the country.

Those remaining in the residences are international students, particularly those from other African countries, who are unable to make their way home for various reasons. Strict rules towards the maintenance of good hygiene practices are in place for these students and will be enforced.

Learning and Teaching:
The University has all the requisite tools to carry out online learning and teaching, but is also aware that not all students may be able to access these resources from where they are. As such, academic staff are working to determine the extent to which students would be able to access online learning and teaching material from where they are, with a view to take this into consideration when planning the way forward.

With the significantly reduced number of people presently on campuses, deep cleaning has commenced across the University’s campuses. This has begun in earnest in the residences and some of the bigger venues around campuses. These will be locked down as they are cleaned, so that they are ready for use when normal operations resume.

Nelson Mandela University has made tremendous strides in its attempts at curbing the spread of COVID-19 on its campuses. University operations continue as far as possible during this unpredictable period.

We remain guided by national directives and await President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address to the nation today. We will continue updating the University community on any developments regarding COVID-19.

Communication and Marketing

Contact information
Ms Zandile Mbabela
Media Manager
Tel: 0415042777