Wits medical students encouraged to self-quarantine as classmate tests positive for coronavirus

Medical students from Wits are encouraged to go on self-quarantine after their classmate tested positive for the coronavirus.
Medical students from Wits are encouraged to go on self-quarantine after their classmate tested positive for the coronavirus.
Image: 123RF/SAMSONOVS
Wits University on Sunday encouraged 350 of its medical students to undergo self-quarantine after one of their classmates tested positive for the coronavirus.

“The ... student who has been in quarantine since last week has tested positive for #Covid-19. All 350 students who could be affected have been instructed to go into self-quarantine,” read a tweet on the university's official Twitter account.

“All GEMP 1/MBBCh3 contact classes to go online,” it continued.

The student had attended classes on Monday and Tuesday before undergoing self-quarantine from Wednesday.

The national health department said it was aware that the Wits student had tested positive, but that because the test was conducted by a private laboratory, it was waiting for confirmation from the National Institute of Communicable Diseases.

“Once the result are available, a formal announcement will be made,” said minister Dr Zweli Mkhize.

Meanwhile, Wits said classes would continue online, with assistance being offered to students in residences who will need to undergo  self-quarantine for 14 days.

The students will receive monitoring and testing.

Earlier, Wits management had said it was yet to decide whether it would continue with the graduation ceremonies and other major events  scheduled to take place in the next few days.

“[The university] will make considered decisions based on the latest data available and the advice of experts in the field. We will keep you updated,” the post read.

The university was forced  to cancel some of its classes in the medical faculty during the past week as one of the medical students underwent self-isolation after being in contact with a person who had since tested positive for the coronavirus.

Wits, however, said at the time it seemed the student was in the clear.

“The medical student who is in self-isolation is well and is not displaying symptoms of Covid-19. We are cautiously optimistic that the individual may not have been infected, although we are still waiting for the final test results. We will keep you updated,” the university said on Friday.

By Sunday morning, the number of positive coronavirus infections in the country was at 51, with the youngest patient being a 14-year-old girl from the Western Cape. The United Herzlia Schools pupil had travelled to the US and Dubai.

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