Novel coronavirus: Information for Tertiary institutions

Information for tertiary institutions about Novel coronavirus.

Please note: This page is a news item, with information being correct at the time of publishing. Please refer to our updated  advice about Novel coronavirus here

As you will have seen in the media the situation is rapidly evolving internationally concerning the coronavirus.

This is a new virus and its specific nature is currently unclear, however it appears that you can have the virus at an early stage and not be showing any symptoms.  The incubation period is considered to be up to 14 days. 

Young people are currently returning to their tertiary study. You may be welcoming international students to study in 2020 from an area where there is coronavirus. The health of students and staff is a priority for all. We encourage you to err on the side of caution and here are some steps you can take:

  • As always anyone who is unwell should not be at work or studying at a tertiary provider. If you have a particular concern about any student or staff member, please urge them to contact Healthline at 0800 611 116 or their GP for medical advice. Healthline has translators and interpreters available 24/7 in 150 languages and they do have Mandarin and Cantonese speaking staff available.

  • For anyone who may be at high risk of exposure because they have recently been to China or have been in close contact with someone confirmed with the virus, I encourage you to ask that the staff member or student delay the start of their study year for 14 days and voluntarily stay away.

  • I urge you to revisit your provider’s pandemic plan and associated policies and ensure these are up to date.

  • Please keep an eye on our website and the Ministry of Health website: Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) guidance – Ministry of Health

Iona Holsted
Secretary for Education

Other useful information

In terms of keeping yourself well, the World Health Organization (WHO) suggests the following:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Wash hands frequently, especially after contact with ill people or their environment
  • Avoid close contact with sick farm animals or wild animals
  • People with symptoms of acute respiratory infection should practice cough etiquette: maintain distance, cover mouth, and cover coughs or sneezes with disposable cloths or clothing.

Local District Health BoardsYou can also contact your local District Health Board if you require further information:

Public Health Unit Contacts – Ministry of Health

Current travel information - continue to refer to the Ministry of Health’s information page on their website.  It will be updated as new information comes to hand:

Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) guidance – Ministry of Health website

If you have students or staff about to travel to China – we urge you to visit the MFAT SafeTravel website:

SafeTravel – Ministry Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT)

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