Pitt instructs students, employees to cancel China travel plans in wake of outbreak

By Janine Faust, Editor-in-chief

Pitt is instructing community members who plan to visit China in the coming weeks to cancel their travel plans, according to an announcement posted by the Office of Public Safety and Emergency Management Friday afternoon. 

According to Pitt spokesperson Kevin Zwick, all Pitt study abroad programming in China for the term has either been cancelled or had the location changed. 

This announcement comes on the heels of a do not travel advisory for China issued by the Department of State on Jan. 30, following the World Health organization’s decision to classify the ongoing coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also issued a warning to travelers, advising them to avoid all “nonessential travel” to the country in general. 

At this time, no suspected cases of coronavirus have been reported at any of Pitt’s campuses or in the Pittsburgh region. 

“We will continue to closely monitor this situation and remain in contact with our partners, the Allegheny County Health Department and Pennsylvania State Health Department. For the latest information as it relates to the University of Pittsburgh, please visit the Office of Public Safety & Emergency Management,” the University’s announcement said. 

In the announcement, Pitt said its Global Operations team is providing support for those who have to cancel travel  plans. Anyone seeking assistance can contact Global Operations Support Manager Ian McLaughlin at [email protected].

More than 9,000 cases of coronavirus have been reported since late December, almost all of them in China, where around 200 have died from the disease. A number of other countries, including the U.S., have reported one or more cases.

Pitt said is anyone who has travelled to or near affected areas recently who begins experiencing symptoms of coronavirus, including a fever, cough and shortness of breath should contact Student Health Service, MyHealth@Work or their healthcare provider immediately.

Pitt added it is currently screening all faculty and staff who have traveled internationally and students who visit at the Student Health Center who have recently traveled internationally. The University is also reviewing the health and travel history information of individuals who reported traveling to and/or from China or other areas impacted by 2019-nCoV.

The University also said any student experiencing stress or concern about family members in China can visit our University Counseling Center for support. Faculty and staff members can contact Life Solutions