Jan. 31, 2020

UCalgary temporarily suspends university-related travel to China

Simple tips to help prevent the spread of cold or flu

Editor's note: For the most up-to-date information about the University of Calgary's response to the spread of coronavirus, visit UCalgary's COVID-19 website.

In light of recent developments regarding the coronavirus outbreak that first appeared in Wuhan, China, the University of Calgary is temporarily suspending all university-related travel to China. The Government of Canada has updated its risk rating for all of China to avoid nonessential travel. The travel advisory has been issued due to the imposition of travel restrictions and quarantines in parts of the country in order to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Many international airlines have also suspended or reduced flights to and from various airports in China, which could cause unexpected travel issues.

In order to protect the safety and well-being of UCalgary students, faculty and staff, the university is taking this precautionary measure and will continue to monitor for any new developments and will adjust our protocols as required. Additionally, alternate arrangements will be made for students who were scheduled to study abroad in China this semester.

Our Risk Management team is also providing options and making travel arrangements to assist two students and one faculty member to return home. All three have been residing in Beijing.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the coronavirus outbreak to be a public health emergency of international concern.

As per information from medical health experts and the Public Health Agency of Canada, the risk to Canadians remains low.

However, as we are also in the midst of peak influenza season, we would like to remind the campus community to consider the following advice that can help to prevent the spread of the cold or flu:

  • Wash your hands often with soap under warm running water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
  • Stay home when sick.
  • When coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with your arm to reduce the spread of germs.
  • If you use a tissue, dispose of it as soon as possible and wash your hands afterwards.
  • Get immunized

The influenza virus infection can result in a wide range of illness (mild to severe) and each year in Canada it is estimated to cause thousands of hospitalizations and, according to last year’s most recent flu statistics, 92 people died from the flu in Alberta. For more information please visit the Government of Canada site on influenza.

If you have recently travelled to an affected region in China, please see the latest recommendations for travellers.

If you have personal plans to travel to an affected region, please see the Government of Canada Travel Advisory for its latest recommendations.

UCalgary will continue to monitor the situation for any new updates or recommendations posted by the Public Health Agency of Canada and Alberta Health Services.