Coronavirus update: UC’s Response

Kia ora koutou,

Today the World Health Organisation (WHO) raised coronavirus to a “global public health emergency”, mainly to assist countries that might not be as well prepared for an outbreak. It is important to note there are no reported cases in Aotearoa New Zealand.

UC is closely following Ministry of Health (MoH) recommendations. In Christchurch our District Health Board has plans in place to deal with any cases should they happen.

You may have seen our updates about the coronavirus here on UC’s Insider’s Guide blog, the LEARN platform, the UCGO app, UC’s Facebook and Twitter and the UC website

UC is following our Emergency Management Plan. Some of the measures we have implemented include requesting self-isolation for travellers arriving recently from Wuhan or Hubei, or who have possibly been exposed to the virus. All UC-related travel to China and Hong Kong by staff or students is suspended until further notice.

UC Health Centre Medical Director Dr Allardyce was interviewed by Professor Ekant Veer. She talks about taking sensible precautions and also about using face masks if you have an illness. It is likely that masks will also be used as a preventative measure at UC. So if you see someone wearing a face mask, don’t panic, it doesn’t mean they necessarily have an illness, they could be simply aiming to protect themselves.

A note about face masks – they are not as good at preventing infection as the standard hygiene precautions, explained below. Face masks do play a role in reminding people to practice standard hygiene precautions, and they can also provide comfort for some people.

Standard hygiene precautions:
Everybody should follow the basic principles of hygiene and cough etiquette to reduce the risk of getting a respiratory infection or passing it onto others. This includes:

  • regularly washing hands (for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap and dry thoroughly)
  • covering your mouth and nose when you sneeze
  • staying home if you are sick
  • avoiding close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms
  • if you feel unwell you should avoid public gatherings and events.
  • The consumption of raw or undercooked animal products should be avoided. Raw meat, milk or animal organs should be handled with care, to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods, as per good food safety practices.

Delayed students:
Students who are delayed in arriving in New Zealand due to coronavirus travel restrictions or disruption should email for further advice. 

Students are welcome to enrol in person, however we understand some people may prefer to enrol online. We will be providing more information about how to do so.

We have created the email address for all enquiries related to coronavirus, including about health, travel, academic, enrolments or otherwise. Direct all questions related to coronavirus to this email address.

Let’s make sure we all support each other during this time
The coronavirus, whilst originating in Wuhan China, is a virus that doesn’t discriminate on race or religion. It’s therefore a good time to reinforce our values; the UC community includes students and staff from over 100 different countries and nationalities and we proudly welcome and embrace them in Ōtautahi Christchurch. Together we are a community of people committed to creating a campus culture of belonging, understanding, inclusiveness and caring. 

More information:

We look forward to seeing you on campus soon.

Ngā mihi,
Lynn McClelland

Executive Director Student Services and Communications
Kaihautū Matua, Te Ratonga Ākonga me te Whakapā

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