Ball State has suspended all work-related travel to China starting Jan. 30, according to a statement sent out by the university.
It states the suspension comes after the U.S. Department of State’s Level 4: Do Not Travel advisory to China due to the novel coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China, — consistent with Ball State’s international travel policies and procedures.
“Our goal is to keep our Ball State community — including our employees and students — safe,” the statement reads.
It said the university does not have any employees or students in China currently. The suspension will remain in place until the state department reduces the travel advisory level.
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The Associated Press states that more than 17,000 confirmed cases and more than 350 deaths due to the virus have been reported in China as of Monday morning. Eleven confirmed cases have been reported in the United States with no deaths so far.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website, there is an ongoing outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus that can be spread from person to person.
Coronaviruses, the website states, are a large family of viruses. While several coronaviruses that infect people are known to usually cause mild respiratory disease, like the common cold, it states at least two previously identified coronaviruses have caused severe disease — namely severe acute respiratory syndrome and Middle East respiratory syndrome.
Signs and symptoms of the new coronavirus infection include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, it states. Sore throat also has been reported in some patients.
In response to this outbreak, CDC’s website states Chinese officials are screening travelers leaving some cities in China and several countries and territories have implemented health screening of travelers arriving from China.
On arrival to the United States, it states travelers from China will undergo health screening. Travelers with signs and symptoms of the illness will have an additional health assessment.
According to CDC, travelers who have been in China during the past 14 days, including US citizens or residents and others who are allowed to enter the US, will be required to enter the country through specific airports and participate in monitoring by health officials until 14 days after they left China. Some people may have their movement restricted or be asked to limit their contact with others until the 14-day period has ended.
CDC’s website has listed advice for travelers to protect themselves and others.
If you must travel to China:
- Avoid contact with sick people.
- Discuss travel to China with your healthcare provider. Older adults and travelers with underlying health issues may be at risk for more severe disease.
- Avoid animals (alive or dead), animal markets, and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat).
- Wash your hands with soap and water immediately after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose. If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
If you were in China in the last 14 days and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, do the following:
- Seek medical advice - Call ahead before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room. Tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
- Avoid contact with others.
- Do not travel while sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Wash your hands with soap and water immediately after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose. If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.