Northern Ireland

Coronavirus: Queen's University stop travel to China

Queen's University Belfast Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption New guidance was issued to all staff and students on Saturday

Queen's University Belfast (QUB) has stopped any travel to China for business or study due to the coronavirus outbreak.

There are around 1200 Chinese students at QUB and it has a medical campus in the Chinese city of Shenyang.

The university has also recommended that staff or students currently in China return to the UK.

One of two people to have tested positive for the virus in the UK is a student at York University.

Queen's University's registrar Jo Clague emailed new guidance on the coronavirus to all staff and students on Saturday.

"Your wellbeing is the university's first priority," it said.

"Please do not let any concerns about your work or studies stop you taking this advice."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Countries around the world have closed their borders to arrivals from China

"We, as a university, are freezing travel to China for business or study while we continue to monitor the situation."

The university said it would pay the travel costs of any students or staff currently working or studying in China to return to Belfast.

Any staff currently on holiday in the country have also been told to contact Queen's.

However, any staff or students who have recently returned from the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the outbreak began, have also been told to inform the university immediately.

"If you have visitors from Wuhan scheduled to come to Queen's University Belfast, please contact them to postpone their trip," the new guidance said.

Planned visits by academics or students from elsewhere in China can still go ahead, though the university said this would be kept "under review."

Some countries have placed travel restrictions on arrivals from China as a result of the coronavirus.

The health minister Robin Swann has previously said that while the risk in the UK is low it is "not unreasonable to assume" that there will be a positive case in Northern Ireland.

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