Penn State shares latest coronavirus-related travel, health information

February 06, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State health and safety officials continue to monitor the outbreak of the novel 2019-nCoV coronavirus centered in the Wuhan province of China. While there have been no cases of the virus at any Penn State campus or anywhere in Pennsylvania at this time, the University is following federal and global recommendations from health agencies and the State Department and taking precautions to protect the health of students, faculty and staff. 

Coronavirus: Current global situation

As of Feb. 6, there are tens of thousands of confirmed cases worldwide, the vast majority of which are in China. Late on Jan. 30, the World Health Organization determined the outbreak constitutes a public health emergency of international concern. Soon after, the State Department elevated its travel advisory for all of mainland China to its highest level, Level 4: Do Not Travel.  

U.S. government travel restrictions 

The State Department has advised those currently in China to depart and stated that the ability of the U.S.  Embassy and Consulates to provide assistance to U.S. nationals within China may be limited in the event the situation deteriorates further. The State Department also ordered the departure of family members under age 21 of U.S. personnel in China and continues to allow the voluntary departure of non-emergency personnel and family members of U.S. government employees in China. 

On Jan. 31, the U.S. government imposed arrival restrictions on travelers entering the United States who have traveled to China within the last 14 days. All flights from China and all passengers who have traveled to China within the last 14 days are being routed through 11 U.S. airports for screening. For the purposes of these restrictions, even a flight layover in mainland China (without ever leaving the airport), would be considered as having visited China. 

Generally, foreign nationals (other than immediate family of U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and flight crew) who have traveled in China within 14 days of their arrival, will be denied entry into the United States. 

Current situation at Penn State 

To date, there have been no cases of 2019-nCoV at any of Penn State’s campuses, said Dr. Robin Oliver-Veronesi, senior director of University Health Services. As is normal protocol, Penn State health personnel at all campuses are inquiring about the travel history of all patients, paying particular attention for patients who may have traveled from China. In addition, all patients with fever, cough or sore throat are being provided with masks regardless of travel history. 

“We recommend the same precautions we would recommend for any flu season: good hygiene practices such as washing hands, and if you don’t feel well, you can schedule an appointment for an evaluation or call the UHS advice nurse for recommendations,” she said. 

Rob Crane, interim vice provost for Global Programs, is encouraging the Penn State community to reach out to and show support for Chinese students and colleagues on campus and in the local community. 

“There’s a lot of unfounded fear,” said Crane. “Many of these students have loved ones who are suffering, and they could use the support of all Penn Staters.”  

Many Chinese and Asian student organizations are raising money to send medical supplies, such as masks, to Wuhan. 

The University has the following services available to support affected students and faculty members: 

— Counseling and Psychological Services 

studentaffairs.psu.edu/counseling 

814-863-0395

24-hour Crisis Line: 1-877-229-6400

Commonwealth Campus Counseling Services 

— Global Programs

global.psu.edu

814-865-7681 

— University Health Services 

studentaffairs.psu.edu/health 

814-863-0774 

24-hour Advice Nurse: 814-863-4463 

Commonwealth Campus Health Services 

Penn State travel 

At this time, University-affiliated student travel to China remains restricted and the University continues to strongly discourage any faculty or staff travel to China, which would be subject to consultation. All Penn State employee travelers recorded to be in China have departed or will soon depart China.   

Additional government restrictions for travel from and through China may be imposed with little or no advance notice. Most commercial air carriers have reduced or suspended routes to and from China, including re-routing flights to avoid layovers in mainland China. 

Recommendations

  • The Penn State Global Safety Office recommends against any travel to China at this time. 
  • Penn Staters should continue to follow the guidance of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for prevention, signs and symptoms, and treatment. 
  • If you are traveling, contact your airline to rebook any flights with connections in mainland China. Simply transiting through a Chinese airport could subject you to the U.S.-imposed arrival restrictions.
  • Research any restrictions imposed by the country you will be visiting.
  • Closely monitor travel guidance from the State Department, the CDC, the Word Health Organization, and local authorities in the country you plan to visit for the latest updates. 

More information 

More information on University travel and resources can be found online at https://news.psu.edu/story/605494/2020/01/30/campus-life/penn-state-officials-closely-monitoring-spread-coronavirus.

 

Last Updated February 13, 2020