As concern continues to grow over the potential spread of the deadly Coronavirus across the world, Florida International University is restricting access for students and faculty while cancelling study abroad programs to nations dealing with the medical crisis.
The school on Monday announced that all travel on behalf of the school to the countries of Italy, Japan, Singapore and South Korea has been restricted while classes for the spring semester to the countries have been cancelled.
At the same time, the school is asking anyone who has visited the countries – as well as China, where thousands have died in recent weeks from the virus – or had contact with anyone who has visited to remain quarantined for 14 days even if they do not have any symptoms.
“We primarily want to protect our students’ and employees’ wellbeing,” the school said in a statement. “The goal is to avoid running the risk of having members of the community remain abroad if further restrictions are put into place.”
The University of Miami had previously seen its study abroad program in China cancelled for both the spring and summer semesters amid concerns.
China reported 508 new cases and another 71 deaths, 68 of them in the central city of Wuhan, where the epidemic began in December. The updates bring mainland China's totals to 77,658 cases and 2,663 deaths.
South Korea now has the second-most cases in the world with 977 and has had a near 15-fold increase in reported infections in a week, as health workers continue to find batches in the southeastern city of Daegu and nearby areas, where panic has brought towns to an eerie standstill.
In Italy, where 229 people have tested positive for the virus and seven have died, police manned checkpoints around a dozen quarantined northern towns as worries grew across the continent.