The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus outbreak a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern” on Thursday.
Additionally, late Thursday night, the US State Department issued a Level 4: Do Not Travel advisory for the country of China in response to the WHO declaration.
According to the WHO, there are more than 7,000 confirmed cases and more than 150 deaths as a result of the virus. More than 12,000 are suspected of having the virus and 124 people have recovered and been discharged from hospital.
Outside of China, there are 82 cases in 18 countries. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that there are only five confirmed cases in the United States. 92 other cases are pending testing.
Quickly after the declaration by the WHO, Richard Englert, President of Temple University, informed the student body via email that university-affiliated travel to China is suspended until further notice per Temple’s international travel policy. University-affiliated travel means any trips conducted for education or research. Personal travel including vacations or transportation to a home country is not affected under this policy.
Temple’s international advisories and alerts website also says that university-affiliated travel to Hong-Kong is prohibited. This ban has been in effect since November 15, 2019 due to “intense protest activity”.
The international travel policy, revised in December 2019 gives administrators the authority to restrict travel to “Elevated/High-Risk Regions” for the health, safety and security of travelers. Determination of risk-level is based off information provided by official government organizations like the US State Department, the WHO and the CDC.
University officials also said that are no suspected or confirmed cases of coronavirus at any Temple campus in the United States or abroad. The University has been in contact with students who traveled to China in addition to students who were enrolled in University programs in China.
If you traveled to China, especially Wuhan City, on or after Dec. 1, 2019 and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, seek medical care immediately.