The New Year’s festivities this year were cancelled in Beijing due to the discovery and growing spread of a new coronavirus, cousin of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) that affected China in 2003. It has been called 2019-nCov.
In the epicenter of the new coronavirus epidemic that has claimed the lives of 27 people is Wuhan, a city of 11 million inhabitants. This city was the first to be quarantined on January 23, 2020. President Xi Jinping has warned that the spread of the virus is accelerating within China. As of this article being published, all 31 tests conducted on people came back negative in the UK. In France however, there have been three confirmed cases.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has welcomed the extreme security measures taken by the Chinese authorities, but has not yet declared the situation an international emergency due to the local and not global impact of the virus.
Because of the developing situation, information is being regularly disclosed on the websites of the WHO, the Public Health in England (PHE) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), as well as local and international advice and assistance.
The University of Leeds is also monitoring the events occurring in Wuhan and provided advice to students and staff that students are invited to read carefully. If people are worried, they should visit the University’s For Students healthcare page.
Leeds University Union (LUU) also provided advice and support for students with their Help and Support team on hand to support any student concerned about the outbreak. They are also reachable at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 0113 3801400.
All students with the criteria below have been advised to not go to Leeds Student Medical practice. They are told they should instead call 111 or reception team 0113 295 488.
- have recently travelled to Wuhan
- have identified syndromes such as cough, sore throat, runny nose, colds and sometimes fever
- or has interacted with a person affected by coronavirus within the last 14 days.
The Foreign Commonwealth office (FCO) discourages travel to Wuhan, but no restrictions have been imposed on other parts of China, even though the virus now affects the cities of Huanggan and Ezhou.
Knowledge of other students or staff who have recently travelled or are travelling to Wuhan should be mentioned to your supervisor or academic tutor who will assess whether the reasons for travelling are valid or not.
Students travelling to China should follow the normal University travel process by contacting their academic tutor and line management to assess the duration and place of residence in China, and all individual health considerations in line with the advice provided by the WHO, SPA, and ECO.
The Line Manager and the academic tutor will advise and assist you from the head of school and relevant University services.