Pubs and restaurants in the vicinity of the University of Pretoria in the Hatfield area are the prime suspects for the pockets of Covid-19 infections surging at the institution.
The university has recorded 115 positive cases of Covid-19 infections in the past three weeks.
University spokesperson Rikus Delport said the university was complying with the Covid-19 health protocols and following the regulations.
He said that the main suspects in the surge of cases could be as a result of the pubs and restaurants frequently visited by the students in the Hatfield area.
“It is suspected that the virus was contracted off campus at one or more of the pubs and restaurants regularly frequented by students in the Hatfield area,” said Delport.
“The University of Pretoria treats the health and safety of its students and staff as a priority and has developed and implemented health and safety protocols to minimise the risk of exposure of members of our UP community to the Covid-19 virus.”
Delport said students who test positive are isolated either at home or in facilities approved by the university and Department of Health.
He said that contact tracing is under way and all the relevant authorities notified. The university is working closely with them to implement all necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the virus.
The rise of infections was concerning, said Higher Health, an agency mandated by the Department of Higher Education to safeguard student health and well-being in higher learning institutions .
“The outbreaks across some of our institutions are extremely worrying and remind us of the brutal second wave that has just passed South Africa,” said Ramneek Ahluwalia, CEO of Higher Health
“While Covid has largely been detrimental to the population groups, the virus is mutating and new variants are showing a higher affinity with young people who can serve as carriers and speed the spread of infection. Unfortunately, that would fire up the third wave,” Ahluwalia said.
Delport said the UP academic programme would continue as planned despite the surge in Covid cases, adding that only student social activities would be put on hold.