Government Communication and Information Systems (GCIS) is focusing on tertiary institutions in its Covid19 awareness programmes and has scheduled a major information drive for Friday 23 October 2020 in targeted tertiary institutions across the Eastern Cape.
In a media statement, the agency said this was prompted by the recent rise of Covid-19 transmission in institutions of higher learning.
Thirty students from the University of Fort Hare recently tested positive for Covid-19 following a night out in an East London tavern.
“There is a growing concern around issues of student compliance to Covid-19 protocols in institutions of higher learning in the Province,” the GCIS said. Multiple stakeholders would join in this important awareness the campaign – part of an ongoing integrated government effort in reducing and supressing the spread of the virus at ward, village, cluster, township and community levels.
“Alert level 1 has led to a misconception that COVID1-19 virus has died down and this has led to sporadic surges of Covid-19 cases in some parts of the Province. 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 Covid-19 is far from over. Our greatest challenge now and the most important task for all of us is to ensure that we do not experience a new surge of uncontrollable wave of infections,” the agency said.
“Although tertiary students are understood to be very much cognisant about the effects of Covid-19 and saving the academic year; it has also been observed that students form a significant portion of the population that violates the Covid-19 protocols.”
The institutions targeted in the awareness campaign are Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth; University of Fort Hare in Buffalo City Metro; Walter Sisulu University in Chris Hani District; East Cape Midlands College Grahamstown Campus; Walter Sisulu University, Butterworth in the Amathole District; Walter Sisulu in OR Tambo District; and Ingwe FET College, KwaBhaca in Alfred Nzo District.
Students and the general public will be urged to download the Covid Alert App that uses Bluetooth technology to alert users when they are in close contact with any other user who has tested positive for Coronavirus in the past 14 days. This App is zero-rated and will not attract any data costs. South Africans with smartphones were encouraged to download the App from Apple Store or Google Play Store.
“We continue to call on society to be vigilant, wear their masks without fail, keep social distancing, wash hands regularly and sanitise,” the agency said.