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Penn State Restricts University-Affiliated Travel To China Due To Coronavirus

Penn State has placed a travel restraint for all university-affiliated travel to China for its students in the wake of the current coronavirus outbreak in the country. Penn State is also urging staff to reconsider any upcoming plans to visit China, which will remain on the university’s restricted list until the current coronavirus outbreak is contained.

“The safety of our students and employees traveling overseas is our number one priority. We have a small number of faculty and staff travelers currently in China, but there are no records for upcoming faculty or staff travel to China through the end of May,” Joe Thurston, the global safety analyst with Penn State Global Programs, said in a press release. “Likewise, we have no student programming in China at this time and no upcoming student travel records to the country through the end of May.”

This decision was prompted by the elevated State Department advisory, following established University practices. The CDC has issued a Level 3 travel warning and recommends avoiding all nonessential travel to China. The State Department has issued a Level 3 advisory to “reconsider travel” to China and a Level 4 “Do Not Travel” advisory for the Hubei Province.

Although Dr. Robin Oliver-Veronesi, senior director of University Health Services, has confirmed that there are no cases of the coronavirus at Penn State and no reports of the virus in Pennsylvania, the State Department is taking action before it spreads.

If any student is still trying to pursue University-affiliated travel to China, they will need to submit a restricted travel petition to be reviewed by the International Restricted Travel Committee and the provost.

The virus was first contracted in Wuhan, China, and it’s spread to other countries. To date, there are six confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States — including the first person-to-person transmission of the disease in Illinois.

According to the World Health Organization, common signs of coronavirus include mild to severe respiratory illness with a fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. In more severe cases, the ailment can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death. The suspected incubation period of the virus is believed to be from two to 14 days.

Any University Park student experiencing these symptoms can begin the screening process for coronavirus over the phone by calling the UHS Advice Nurse at (814) 863-4463. Students can also contact the Global Safety Office for more information.

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About the Author

Hope Damato

Hope is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism and is one of Onward State's social media editors. She resides in Northern Virginia but likes to tell people she's from D.C. since no ones heard of Manassas. She considers herself a coffee expert, obsessive Eagles fan and likes long walks on the beach. Feel free to follow her on twitter @hopemarinaa to send her funny tweets or email her at [email protected] to yell at her.


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