UK limits travel to China amid CDC warnings


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Kernel Staff

UPDATE: A week after first emailing the UK community about coronavirus safety, UK officials have sent a second email updating rules and recommendations for campus.

The email said that because the Centers for Disease Control has issued a Warning Level 3 for China, UK students will not be able to travel there under UK Administrative Regulation 4:9, even if students are not earning academic credit for the trip.

Non-essential, university-sponsored travel to China by faculty, students and staff will not be approved at this time, said the email.

UK has dedicated a website to information and resources about the novel coronavirus.

As the number of cases of coronavirus have risen in China, a limited number of cases have appeared in the U.S.

“But there are no reported incidents on our campus,” said the email. “And we continue to be advised that the risk of transmission to members of our community is very low.”

The email directed any UK faculty, staff or student that has recently traveled to Wuhan in the last two weeks and is developing symptoms to contact UK’s University Health Services.

Additionally, students who have concerns or anxiety can contact the Counseling Center. Those with questions about travel plans should contact UK’s Office of International Health, Safety, and Security.

Hours after Texas medical officials confirmed that a Texas A&M University student was experiencing symptoms of the deadly novel coronavirus, UK officials sent a campus-wide email with information on the virus and directed anyone who may be experiencing symptoms to contact campus health services immediately.

“No cases of this novel coronavirus have been identified at the University of Kentucky or in the state at this time,” the email stated. “However, the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff is our most important priority.”

The email warned of the novel coronavirus that has been reported in Wuhan, China. The virus has some flu-like symptoms, such as fever and respiratory illness, which includes cough and shortness of breath. 

UK spokesperson Jay Blanton wrote in an email to the Kernel that “this was an opportune time at the start of the semester, and with the concerns present, to communicate.”

“We have a significant number of students, faculty and staff who travel to and from China throughout the year for studies, scholarly work and teaching,” Blanton said via email. “Against that backdrop, it was prudent, given the concerns about Novel Coronavirus present nationally and internationally, to communicate with the campus…” 

According to the campus-wide email, The Center for Disease Control and the Kentucky Department of Public Health have released health advisories for anyone who may have traveled the area. 

China has reported at least 25 deaths from the virus, according to a New York Times article

Addison Lander contributed reporting.