Ohio University expands travel restrictions due to the international viral outbreak of 2019 Novel Coronavirus

Published: March 2, 2020 Author: Staff reports

In accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Ohio University has temporarily restricted University-sponsored travel to countries identified as Warning Level 3 by the CDC for all faculty, staff and students — effective until further notice — due to the international viral outbreak of 2019 Novel Coronavirus.

Heightened levels of alert also exist for countries which are currently identified as Level 2. Out of an abundance of caution, Ohio University has also suspended all University-related travel to countries identified as Warning Level 2 effective immediately.

The University has also cancelled inbound programs and associated travel from Warning Level 2 and 3 countries effective immediately.

The University is asking all students currently abroad to return from Warning Level 2 and Warning Level 3 countries.

If you are an Ohio University student currently enrolled in one of our study away programs, please contact the Office of Global Opportunities with any questions or concerns. 

For personal travel, and particularly as spring break approaches, we strongly advise all students, faculty and staff to follow travel alerts from the CDC.

If you do visit any countries with the above warning levels –– or any affected area –– you are strongly encouraged to self-monitor for a quarantined period of 14 days when you return.

No cases of the virus have been reported at Ohio University or confirmed in the State of Ohio, and the risk is considered low, but the University is being proactive. We will continue to coordinate with the Athens County Health Department and the Ohio Department of Health to review protocols in preparation for the possibility of a case here.

Travel Information

The US Department of State has also issued travel advisories related to the COVID-19 outbreak. More information is also available on the International SOS website (OHIO’s membership number is 11BCAS000010) and on the Ohio Department of Health’s website. County health departments are also coordinating with the Ohio Department of Health.

What you can do

If you have a respiratory illness or fever, please stay home or seek medical attention.

If you have spent time in an area with an alert in place, you will need to monitor your symptoms when you return. If you feel sick with fever, cough or difficulty breathing within 14 days of such a visit, please do the following:

  • Seek medical advice. Call ahead before going to a doctor's office or emergency room. Tell them about your recent travel to an area with community spread of coronavirus, and your symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with others and do not travel while sick.

Currently, there is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for the coronavirus.

There is no vaccine to prevent this virus, and the CDC advises that the best way to prevent infection is to avoid exposure. Here are everyday actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Helpful Resources

We will continue to monitor this quickly evolving situation and provide updates as appropriate. For more information about human coronavirus, prevention, and other health alerts, visit OHIO’s health alerts page, travelers health tips, and general health and safety information for University travelers. Additionally, students, faculty, staff, and visiting scholars are encouraged to visit the CDC website at https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices for Travel Notices and Updates.