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COVID-19 outbreak at Fort Hare University sparks fears

Approximately 30 students at the University of Fort Hare’s East London Campus recently tested positive for COVID-19 after attending a party at a tavern in Quigney where safety regulations were allegedly not adhered to.

According to a statement released by the Eastern Cape Department of Health yesterday, there was a non-compliance of Alert Level One regulations where masks were not worn, social distancing not observed and a lack of sanitising and washing of hands at the event on October 3.

The same non-compliance allegedly took place at another event in Quigney last weekend.

Most of the students that tested positive are from the Nursing Science Faculty and to a lesser degree, the Law Faculty.

Although the active cases are close to 30, more results are still streaming in.

“Students that attended the parties have confirmed that lockdown regulations were not adhered to. Patrons at the tavern were allegedly more than 300 in number and some had allegedly been drinking from one bottle and dancing close to one another,” the statement read.

“The COVID-19 positive students are quarantined and isolated at the Alice Campus where the university set aside a residence with 134 rooms,” it read further.

The Department has subsequently launched a tracking and tracing campaign to locate those that were in contact with the positive students.

According to the statement, two of the students that tested positive went home, one to Mount Fletcher and the other to Reston in East London. Tracing teams in both districts, Buffalo City and Joe Gqabi, were able to locate them.

The Department of Higher Education has also been made aware of the situation.

Meanwhile, the province’s Department of Health urged everyone to remain vigilant as COVID-19 is still among us.

“It is an invisible pandemic and our people are encouraged to always wear their masks, keep to social distancing, wash their hands regularly for more than 20 seconds, sanitise and get tested once they exhibit symptoms of the virus,” the statement read.

“People are also urged to avoid places where there are large crowds. We have seen an increase in the numbers as the levels of lockdown are lowered by government because people seem to think that COVID-19 is no more. People are advised to be responsible for their health.”

Source: Eastern Cape Department of Health
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