Update Thursday, January 23, 10:18 p.m.: As of 9:30 p.m. Beijing time on January 23, 634 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus have been found in China, with the virus extending to Hong Kong, Macau and out west to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Today, Chinese health authorities released the list of the 17 patients who have died as a result of the virus — all are older individuals and many had preexisting health conditions. The city of Wuhan is on a partial lockdown, with no trains stopping at any of its three stations and residents unable to leave through the airport. Members of the public are actively heeding Chinese media advice to wear masks while in public. Movies that were scheduled to be launched over the Lunar New Year have been postponed. Scientists in China have published a paper indicating snakes as the source of this new coronavirus, however other scientists in the UK point to bats as the culprit. The World Health Organization (WHO) will reconvene on Thursday to determine possible global ramifications. In addition to Wuhan, four smaller cities nearby have imposed travel restrictions.
Here at Capital Normal University in Beijing, university staff have cancelled a dumpling making activity for international students tomorrow (Friday, January 24) to take extra precautions for the spread of the virus. We are 655 miles away from Wuhan. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Department of State, travelers are urged to:
- Avoid contact with sick people.
- Avoid animals (alive or dead), animal markets, and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat).
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid travel to the Wuhan area.
As many students are preparing to travel across the country for the holiday break, we will actively monitor the situation and advise of any further updates or modifications to travel plans. Currently, travel will continue as scheduled — temperature checks are expected to be in place across many Chinese transport hubs. Students are advised to stay healthy through drinking plenty of fluids, eating nutritious meals and ensuring adequate sleep.
We will continue to monitor the situation and will send out further updates if necessary. Wishing you all a happy and prosperous Year of the Rat!