By SUSAN JONES
The outbreak of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is half a world away in China, but concern for the spread of the disease has reached around the globe.
PITT TO LIMIT TRAVEL TO CHINA BY STUDENTS, EMPLOYEES
The University has canceled or changed the venue for all of its spring and spring break programming in China, in light of the U.S. Department of State issuing a do not travel advisory for China.
This development follows the World Health Organization’s decision to classify the novel coronavirus outbreak first identified in Wuhan, China, as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also issued a warning for all of China.
Individuals from the University of Pittsburgh who are slated to visit China in the coming weeks are being asked to cancel these plans. The Pitt Global Operations team is ready to offer support as needed. Contact Ian McLaughlin, Global Operations Support Manager, 412-624-0125, email@example.com or globaloperations.pitt.edu/contact.
Pitt, which has 1,868 students from China (58 percent of all international students), issued a statement Jan. 27 that the University is closely monitoring the situation, but has had no reports of suspected cases on any of its campuses or in the Pittsburgh region.
In China, there have been more than 4,500 people diagnosed with the disease and more than 100 deaths, according to the New York Times. The epicenter of the outbreak, Wuhan in Hubei Province, has been placed on virtual lockdown, and Chinese officials have restricted travel throughout the country.
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In the U.S., there have been five reported cases, all in people who had traveled to the Wuhan region recently. One of the cases was an “adult member” of the Arizona State University community, according to CNN.
Other U.S. universities, including Baylor, Texas A&M and others, have had students who were tested for the disease and came back negative.
The Centers for Disease Control is currently screening travelers from China at 20 American airports, Vice President Mike Pence said on Monday.
On Pitt’s Oakland campus, MyHealth@Work and Student Health Services are asking all faculty, staff and students who visit the clinics about any recent international travel. Pitt health officials also are reviewing the health and travel history information of individuals who reported traveling to or from China or other areas impacted by 2019-nCoV.
Pittsburgh has been a sister city to Wuhan since 1982, and Pitt has long partnered with Wuhan University for the University’s Confucius Institute. Last year, the institute’s program to put scholars from China in area K-12 schools to teach language was suspended because of new rules from the State Department.
Symptoms of the 2019-nCoV infection include mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough and shortness of breath. If you experience any of these symptoms and have recently traveled to or near affected areas or been exposed to others who have traveled to or near affected areas, contact Student Health Service, MyHealth@Work or your health care provider immediately.
For the latest information as it relates to the University of Pittsburgh, please visit the Office of Public Safety & Emergency Management.
Susan Jones is editor of the University Times. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-648-4294.
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