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As coronavirus spreads, U of M & MSU faculty and students leave China

Illustration of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Michigan universities say faculty members and students are returning from trips to China, as the coronavirus outbreak grows worse.

The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak of the new virus from China a global emergency after the number of infected people spiked more than tenfold in a week. The United Nations health agency made the determination on Thursday as more cases of human-to-human transmission were being reported worldwide. 

To date, China has reported more than 7,800 cases, including 170 deaths. Eighteen other countries have reported cases, as scientists race to understand how exactly the virus is spreading and how severe it is.

Michigan State University is suspending university-sponsored travel to China for the next eight weeks.  

MSU spokesman, Dan Olsen, says the university did have a handful of faculty in China on university-sponsored business at the time the outbreak began. But he says they have all either left the country or are in the process of leaving China.

Five University of Michigan faculty members and students were in China at the time of the outbreak. University of Michigan spokesman, Rick Fitzgerald, says they have scheduled their flights home in the coming days or weeks.

Fitzgerald says the U of M faculty and students “all report being in good health.”

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Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
The Associated Press is an independent global news organization dedicated to factual reporting.
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