UBC urges exchange students to consider deferring flights back from China over coronavirus fears


VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — UBC is now telling its students who are currently in China to consider deferring their flights back given concerns about the spread of the new coronavirus.

UBC spokesperson Matthew Ramsey explains potential exchange students who might want to go to China are getting the same advice.

“We’ve also advised students that haven’t travelled to China yet for their exchange to defer their travel as advised by their host universities and, again, we are doing so based on the latest information of Global Affairs Canada.”

At the same time, work is being done internally at UBC to decide if exchange programs should be shut down over the long term because of the virus.

“That group is planning and coordinating action as new information comes out, including whether to proceed or not with current exchange and co-op programs but those decisions have not been made,” Ramsey says.

He confirms the university has been in contact with all the students on exchange in China who might be considering returning home from the Lunar New Year holiday.

“We’ve informed students of their options to return to Canada, and either defer or to withdraw from their programs in China, or wait with their families in China, as many have.”

Ramsey says so far none of their students or staff currently in China have tested positive for the new coronavirus.

The risk of the virus spreading in B.C. remains low, despite one case being confirmed in the Metro Vancouver area.

Editor’s note: We have edited this article to correctly refer to the new virus.

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