University calls for ‘self-isolation’ and outlines measures

The University of Otago is asking all students and staff recently returned from China to go into self-imposed quarantine for up to two weeks, as the impact of the coronavirus spreads.

The university yesterday confirmed it had expected about 400 students from China to travel to Dunedin to study this year, but ‘‘a number’’ were now unable to travel as a result of the temporary travel ban introduced on Sunday.

Students already in New Zealand who had recently arrived or returned from mainland China, as well as some university staff, were also affected by the fallout from the virus’ spread, a university spokeswoman said.

All students and staff who have recently returned from, or transited through, China would be required to go into ‘‘self-isolation’’ for up to 14 days.

So far, two students had done so, she said.

Self-isolation meant remaining at home and staying away from all social situations which could involve contact with members of the public, and avoiding situations where people could infect one another.

People could remain self-isolated at home, but the university was arranging alternative accommodation for those living in its halls of residence and other accommodation it owned, the spokeswoman said.

The university would continue to operate ‘‘as usual’’, but had put the measures in place ‘‘to ensure the wellbeing of all of our staff and students’’, she said.

It was also asking staff, returning students, prospective new students and any intended departmental visitors — including visiting lecturers who had recently travelled from mainland China — to register with its support services facility AskOtago.

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