University of Regina cancels travel to China over coronavirus risk

In this Jan. 16, 2020, photo, travelers from China's Wuhan go through body temperature scanners at Narita airport in Narita, near Tokyo. A fourth person has died in an outbreak of a new coronavirus in China, authorities said Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020, as more places stepped up medical screening of travelers from the country as it enters its busiest travel period. (Kyodo News via AP). Kyodo News via AP

The University of Regina says it is cancelling all centrally-organized and funded travel to China scheduled for the next three months due to the coronavirus outbreak.

In a statement Monday, the university said it is taking a proactive approach regarding travel to and from China.

A spokesperson also said that effective immediately, all travel to China by faculty, researchers and students funded by the university will require the dean’s approval.

“(It) must include a risk mitigation plan that addresses the precautions identified by the government of Canada,” said a statement from the university.

“Personal travel is at the discretion of the individual, but they are being strongly encouraged to pay attention to all travel advisories.”

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The outbreak, which began in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December, as of Monday had infected more than 2,000 people in China and killed 76.

Cases have also been confirmed in the United States, Thailand, Japan and South Korea. Two cases recently appeared in Canada.

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The university said a bulletin has been prepared to provide information on risk, symptoms and follow-up actions for anyone arriving from China to the campus.

It also said information will be provided to the campus community with the latest information from the Public Health Agency of Canada to assist them in “taking steps to mitigate the risk of contracting or spreading the virus.”

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While there is a test to identify the virus, there is currently no vaccine to prevent an infection or a treatment for those infected.

Symptoms of the virus include fever, headache, runny nose, cough and difficulty breathing. Symptoms of the new coronavirus are also common symptoms of influenza.

In extremely serious cases — especially in those with weakened immune systems — the virus can cause pneumonia, bronchitis, kidney failure and death.

—With files from Rachel D’Amore and Laura Hensley

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