WMU halts travel to China due to coronavirus

Coronavirus

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Western Michigan University is prohibiting university sanctioned travel to China because of the coronavirus outbreak.

WMU established the policy after the U.S. Department of State issued a level 4 advisory last week, telling Americans not to travel to the country.

According to WMU spokesperson Paula Davis, a faculty member and student both canceled their plans because of the concerns.

She says campus officials are closely monitoring federal, state and local health warnings.

“It was important to look at our travel to China and we determined that we need to follow the state department’s guidelines,” she said. “As a result of that, we have postponed or canceled trips to China until further notice.”

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An advisory of the policy was sent out last week to students, faculty and staff. It also provided information about the virus, including the symptoms and who is most at risk.

“The health and safety of the campus community is a top priority,” Davis said.

WMU is not taking chances, especially in this modern age of air travel, where virus concerns quickly become a global issue.

“This is an international university, and it is very common for faculty members and students to travel internationally, including to China,” Davis said.

The university has not had any confirmed or suspected cases of the virus.

WMU agreed to postpone a women’s basketball game last week at Miami University in Ohio because two students on that campus recently traveled to China and had flu-like symptoms. Those test results came back negative for coronavirus.

The U.S. has seen some cases of coronavirus, but none of them have been in Michigan. Local health officials have reminded residents that the bigger threat here is influenza and urged people to get vaccinated.

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