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A COVID-19 resurgence is upon us, as evidenced by the rising number of cases nationally. The Nelson Mandela Bay Metro has been flagged as a hotspot as numbers continue to rise.

As Nelson Mandela University, we are extremely concerned by this, due to the risk and impact on the Bay community at large, as well as on our campuses, the bulk of which are situated in the area.

Since the advent of the pandemic on South African shores, the University has put in place measures for the prevention, surveillance and management of the virus, as driven by a task team leading the institutional response to the pandemic.

These efforts, however, have been met with some challenges, particularly under the far less restrictive Level 1 lockdown conditions that allows for greater mobility.  This period has therefore seen the University experience a notable increase in the number of reported cases on campus among staff and students, which is of grave concern.

To date, a total of 75 students have tested positive for the virus, with 40 active cases, while staff have recorded a cumulative 99 cases, of which 14 are active.  Mandela University staff and students infected by the virus are either isolating at home or at accredited quarantine sites.

In trying to address the rising numbers, the University is working to bolster the existing suite of health and safety measures in place, as well as campaigns aimed at increased awareness of the gravity of the situation, with attempts at behavioural change.

Cluster outbreaks

Having realised a spike in the number of cases in the past few weeks, particularly among students living at on-campus and accredited off-campus residences, the University developed a comprehensive cluster management system.  This aims to quickly identify any potential for outbreaks and proactively work to mitigate this as far as possible.

In this context, a cluster is defined as at least two people confirmed or suspected to be COVID-19 positive, identified within a week of each other in the same vicinity.

As a result, residences are placed under “pragmatic quarantine”, which limits movement in the residences, allowing only for monitored access to critical services such as ablutions and cooking facilities.

As of 11am today, there are seven residences under quarantine. The quarantine restrictions of two residences were lifted from two others earlier this week. The quarantine period is ten days if no further infections are recorded.

Concerning Public Behaviour

The far more relaxed lockdown restrictions appear to have created the gravely false impression that the coronavirus pandemic is over, but the reality is that it is not.  This necessitates increased vigilance, particularly when accessing public spaces.

There is mounting concern at the widespread and flagrant disregard for the national Department of Health recommendations for the wearing of masks, which is the easiest attempt at protecting oneself against the virus.

Attendance at parties, weddings, funerals and other social gatherings, particularly were COVID-19 regulations are flouted, are among the factors contributing to spike in infections.


While the University has put numerous health and safety measures in place, including a suite of psychosocial support throughout the lockdown period, it remains the individual responsibility of all staff, students and other institutional stakeholders to protect themselves and their loved ones against the virus.

Careless and reckless behaviour places the health and safety of many at risk.  It should not be forgotten that the fight against COVID-19 is indeed in your hands.

Contact information
Mrs Debbie Derry
Deputy Director: Communication
Tel: 041 504 3057