The University of Cape Town is assisting students to return home ahead of the nationwide lockdown, which begins Thursday midnight. UCT, in a similar vein to other universities, was evacuated as the coronavirus broke out, and all residences were closed. Now UCT is assisting remaining students by, for example, organising buses to transport them. UCT will also be completely shutting down its academic programme, and not even research will take place. The university said it had put “every possible measure in place to support as many students as possible who have had to vacate residences as part of the effort to reduce the risk of Covid-19 infections”.Last week, buses transported hundreds of students to their home provinces and more would depart on Tuesday. These buses will head to the Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, the university said. “Further arrangements put in place last week to support students through this unprecedented period included immediate payment of allowances for all students on financial aid, liaising with the Department of Home Affairs in cases involving international students, and securing safe storage for students’ belongings,” the statement added. During this period, no staff member will be allowed into any UCT building and academic activities – including research – will stop. "The university will engage with foreign embassies to ensure that international students can return safely to their countries.“This unprecedented crisis creates many anxieties and personal complexities for all members of the UCT community, yet all carry a huge responsibility to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 epidemic on our country," the university said.Cape Peninsula University of Technology spokesperson Lauren Kansley said the institution would be chartering buses to assist student in residence will in student housing to return home.“We appreciated that it would be difficult for these students to return home with limited flights and buses available and the decision was taken to assist them to get home safely and back to their families,” she said.