Government and UFH join forces to intensify Covid-19 messaging on campus

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Amid rising fears of a looming second wave and concerns over a spike in infections among tertiary students, government has moved with speed to launch a Covid-19 awareness campaign in partnership with the University of Fort Hare and other Eastern Cape institutions of higher learning. 

The objective of the campaign is to remind students that the virus remains a threat. At Fort Hare, the activation site was the Suigi student residence in East London on 23 October. The programme was led by the Government Communication and Information Systems (GCIS) in collaboration with UFH’s Institutional Advancement Department, Buffalo City Metro’s Environmental Health Department and the Eastern Cape Department of Health. 
Ms Thabisa Ngqunge, GCIS EC Regional Communication Coordinator said the joint operation was driven by the recent Covid-19 transmission outbreak among UFH students. “There is growing concern around the issue of students’ poor compliance with Covid-19 protocols at the university. 
The campaign is part of an ongoing integrated government effort to reduce and suppress the spread of the virus at ward, village, cluster, township and community levels,” she said. Ngqunge cautioned against the misconception that being on alert Level 1 means the virus has died down. “This misconception has led to sporadic surges of Covd19 cases. The move to alert Level 1 made people to forget that Covid-19 is still part of us. It is important for society, particularly the youth, to note that the fight against the virus is far from over.” 
During the activation, representatives from each of the partnering organisations encouraged students to stay safe during this time. Mr Velani Mbiza from Institutional Advancement reminded students about safety measures and protocols already in place on all campuses.
Following a concerning spike in new infections which saw the university reach 60 active cases within a period of 7-10 days, the numbers have slowed down somewhat, with only 3 new cases recorded between 26-29th October. The other set of good news is that approximately 63% of the people who were in isolation have recovered and have been discharged from the isolation sites. 
By Aretha Linden and Tandi Mapukata