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coronavirus-2

There are still no cases of coronavirus in Philadelphia or at Penn. (Photo by CDC/Dr. Fred Murphy)

In response to the deadly coronavirus outbreak, Penn recommends that all students, faculty, and staff returning from mainland China self-isolate for 14 days upon returning to the United States.

An email sent by Provost Wendell E. Pritchett, Executive Vice President Craig R. Carnaroli, Vice Provost for Global Initiatives Ezekiel J. Emanuel, and Chief Wellness Officer Benoit Dubé on Wednesday stated that returning students, faculty, and staff from mainland China should skip all normal activities including work and class and monitor any indications of fever, cough, or lower respiratory symptoms. 

The recommendation comes after the Pennsylvania Department of Health issued a new guidance yesterday.

Campus Health, Penn Global, and International Students and Scholars are currently in communication with individuals who have recently returned from China, according to the email. For students who traveled to China and returned to the United States on or before Jan. 21 and do not show any symptoms of disease, no further action is necessary, the email read.

There are still no cases of coronavirus in Philadelphia or at Penn and the risk to the Penn community remains low, according to the email. Influenza-like illnesses, however, are currently common in Philadelphia, and students are encouraged to wash hands, cover coughs, and stay home if they feel ill.

Coronaviruses are a large, very common family of viruses, according to The New York Times. The new strain originally broke out in Wuhan, China and was detected by Chinese authorities on Dec. 31, according to The Washington Post. The Times reported that over 28,000 cases, 12 of which are in the United States, and 563 deaths have been recorded. The disease has spread to 24 countries, prompting travel bans and lockdowns in affected areas on more than 50 million citizens in China, according to The Times.

On Jan. 31, the Trump administration declared the coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention raised its travel warning to the highest level, advising against all “non-essential travel to China,” on Jan. 25, according to USA Today.

Penn advised all students planning to study abroad in China this semester against such arrangements in response to the coronavirus on Jan. 30. The Penn Wharton China Center in Beijing, nearly 700 miles from the center of the outbreak in Wuhan, has also closed until Feb. 10 at the earliest. 

Campus Health, Student Health, and Penn Global will continue to update their websites with information on the coronavirus and how it will impact students, according to the email.

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