A Wits student is currently in voluntary self-isolation after being exposed to a friend who had tested positive for the coronavirus.

A Wits University student will remain in precautionary self-quarantine for 14 days after exposure to a friend who was confirmed to be infected with the coronavirus.

The student,  who is on the graduate entry medical programme (GEMP) 1, and is a resident of Wits Junction in Parktown, alerted the Health Science Faculty on Thursday, March 12 about her exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19).

“We can confirm that the student is a resident of Wits Junction, but the student is currently not self-isolating at Junction,” said Kanaka Mudzanani, chairman of the House Committee at Wits Junction.

The head of the school of clinical medicine, Professor Daynia Ballot, said the student alerted the department of her exposure to coronavirus the same day she found out that a friend she had been in contact with tested positive for the virus.

Romy Sapire, a third-year medicine student, who is in the same GEMP 1 class with the female student in self-isolation, said that news of the student’s exposure has put some students on edge. “I think there is some level of anxiety amongst medical students, but I would say in general, there is not an overriding sense of panic,” she said.

Tanushri Pillay, who is also a third-year medicine student, said that she is also concerned by the possibility that the academic programme will be delayed. “I definitely feel that med-students are stressed and anxious about the possibility of needing to repeat a year in an already long degree.”

Ballot emphasised the importance of people acting sensibly and responsibly during this time. “This isn’t just about an individual student, it’s about a whole community. So, we need to be sensible and try to be responsible to one another.” Ballot told Wits Vuvuzela that, “final year students are anxious about losing a significant amount of academic time.”

Ballot told Wits Vuvuzela that clinical engagements class scheduled for Friday, March 13, had been cancelled.  “We don’t want to put people at risk in the clinical environment from patients, we also don’t want the other [putting patients at risk of exposure] to apply.”

GEMP 1 classes are set to resume on Monday, March 16.

FEATURED IMAGE: A Wits University student has been in self-quarantine after contact with a person who had been confirmed to be infected with the coronavirus. Photo: File.