THE University of Pretoria is on high alert after more than 100 students tested positive for Covid-19.

The university said the students have been placed in isolation at home and at facilities approved by the Department of Health.

University spokesman Rikus Delport said initial reports indicated that 55 students tested positive after a 19 March outing, prompting the institution to take immediate action to minimise the risk of exposure.

Said Delport: “A number of students at a few residences tested positive and the university took immediate action to manage the situation and facilitate full sanitisation of all communal areas, as well as areas specifically occupied by the affected students.

“It’s suspected that the first infection arose after social contact at a venue that’s frequented by students outside of the campus.”

He said all in-residence social activities had been put on hold and everyone at the university encouraged to exercise caution.

The department set up a screening and testing facility to test students who were in close contact with the affected students and those who may have had some contact or were symptomatic.

Higher Education Minister Dr Blade Nzimande appealed to students, lecturers and all staff in institutions of higher learning to remain vigilant and adhere to Covid-19 regulations.

Nzimande told Daily Sun: “While Covid-19 has largely been detrimental for the older population groups, the virus is mutating and new variants are showing a higher affinity towards young people, who can serve as carriers and hasten the spread of infection.

“Unfortunately, that would fire up the third wave.”