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Update UM: don't travel to Chinese province of Hubei

Update UM: don't travel to Chinese province of Hubei

Photographer:Fotograaf: ministerie BuZa

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University advises its students and staff not to travel to the Chinese province of Hubei, with Wuhan as epicentre of the outbreak of the corona virus.

The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs updated its travel advice for China. There is a negative travel advisory for the province of Hubei. Travelling to the rest of China, including Hong Kong, is discouraged, unless it's absolutely necessary. The Executive Board of Maastricht University adopts that advice.

"The recommendation for those who are already in China is to take the necessary safety precautions. UM is monitoring the latest developments closely and will, if the situation calls for it, take measures and provide specific recommendations to students and staff who are currently staying in China or who are planning to travel to China in the near future for their studies, work or research", the Executive board states. You can also find a FAQ on the UM website.

The holiday period in China, because of the Chinese New Year, has been extended. Schools, government organisations and universities will be shut for longer in an attempt to contain the virus outbreak as much as possible. This means that the exchange programme for students from the Maastricht School of Business and Economics (SBE) to Chinese guest universities will be postponed.

Two of them will catch a later flight to Shenzhen, says Lyan Ploumen, director of International Relations at SBE. They were asked urgently by the receiving university not to arrive before the beginning of the semester – postponed to 17 February or later. They will not even be allowed to enter the campus before that time.

Six SBE students are in Asia at the moment, preparing themselves for their study programmes in China. Four will continue on to Shanghai, one to Hong Kong and one to Shenzhen. Their programmes will also start later. All guest universities are far from Wuhan, the epicentre of the virus outbreak. Ploumen and her colleagues are keeping a “vigilant” eye on the situation. She certainly doesn’t want to trivialize the situation, but does feel that we have to be realistic. “If an epidemic breaks out in Helsinki then everything doesn’t shut down in Lisbon. Because that is the distances we are talking about.”

The problem goes in different directions for Maastricht University. Firstly, the care of its own students who are doing a work placement or studying in China (it is unclear how many there are from other faculties). In addition, the UM is receiving exchange students. Thirty Chinese students are coming to SBE this week. But not from the province of Hubei, says Ploumen.
What is becoming clear is that family visits to the ‘infected’ city of Wuhan because of the Chinese New Year have thrown a spanner in the works. Two students, one studying in Beijing, the other in Auckland, New Zealand, are not allowed to leave Wuhan and have now sent a cancellation to Ploumen.

The UM has 114 Chinese PhD students, 175 regular Chinese bachelor’s and master’s students and 153 ‘non-regular’ ones (exchange students, contracts, foundation programme). According to the UM-spokesperson Gert van Doorn, nobody was recently in Wuhan or the province of Hubei.

If you feel sick or suffer from the symptoms, UM states, stay at home and contact your GP. "If you are diagnosed with the coronavirus, please notify UM as soon as possible."



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