HOUSTON - The University of Houston has decided to suspend all travel to Wuhan, Hubei Province, China and non-essential travel to China.
The announcement comes after an ongoing outbreak of a respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus that can be spread from person to person.
Paula Myrick Short, Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, released the following statement to faculty, students, and staff on Tuesday evening:
"At this time, the University of Houston System is prohibiting all travel to Wuhan, Hubei Province, China and non-essential travel to China outside of Hubei Province in adherence to U.S. Federal Government travel warnings resulting from the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus, known as 2019-nCoV.
While the UH System places great value in our work and on our many partnerships in China, including exchange programs, and intends to continue these initiatives, our highest priority is the health and wellbeing of our UH System Community. At this time, the health risks associated with the uncertainty about where in China and how rapidly the virus is spreading, outweigh our institutions’ academic and research endeavors and necessitate travel restrictions.
On Jan. 27, the U.S. Department of State issued a Level 3 Travel Advisory to China, recommending reconsideration of travel to anywhere in that country, as well as a Level 4 Travel Advisory to completely restrict travel to Wuhan and Hubei Province. On Jan. 23, the Department of State ordered the departure of all non-emergency U.S. personnel and their family members from Wuhan and Chinese authorities have imposed travel restrictions in the area.
Also on Jan. 27, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) extended its Warning Level 3 from Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, where the first case of the new Coronavirus was identified, to now include all of China. A Warning Level 3 instructs individuals to “avoid all non-essential travel to this destination. The outbreak is of high risk to travelers and no precautions are available to protect against the identified increased risk.”
The UH System remains in close contact with our federal, state and local government partners and will continue to monitor this situation closely. While we regret any temporary disruptions to our endeavors in the region, we look forward to fully re-engaging at such time the health risk to our UH System Community associated with the new Coronavirus has diminished."