Update: the University's response to coronavirus

The health and wellbeing of our students, staff and the wider community are the top priority as the University continues to respond to the global outbreak of coronavirus.

Coronaviruses are a large and diverse family of viruses that includes the common cold, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). Symptoms include fever, coughing and difficulty breathing. You can find out more information about the virus here.

We are working closely with the Ministry of Health and Regional Public Health and following their advice. The Ministry of Health has detailed health information here.

As of 3 February, the New Zealand government has closed the border to foreign nationals who are coming from mainland China or have transited through China. This situation is being reviewed every 48 hours and is currently in place for up to 14 days.

The University is contacting new and returning students in China to provide support and advice. We are encouraging students to continue with the enrolment process and offering them as much flexibility as possible around potential start dates and online options. If students are unable to return to New Zealand as planned, or have concerns about what to do when they arrive, they are advised to email international-support@vuw.ac.nz.

The latest advice from Ministry of Health is that anyone who has returned from China must self-isolate for 14 days. Students should phone their GP Practice or Student Health for advice, and staff should contact their GP Practice. You can also contact Healthline on 0800 611 116.

We will also be contacting all students enrolled in a hall of residence for 2020 to request information about their recent travel.

The University has robust and up-to-date procedures in place to manage events of this type, and our response can be scaled up as necessary.  We are working with Wellington University International, our Accommodation Service and other areas of the University to ensure full information and pastoral care is provided to new and returning students as well as staff on how to manage any flu-like illness in our community.

Student Health is coordinating the medical response across the University as well as being in close contact with external public health agencies. At this point it is an evolving scenario and updates will be provided on the website and through social media.

Important health advice

  • Follow best practices with hand washing and personal hygiene
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze
  • Stay home if you are unwell, and avoid public gatherings


The University is following the guidance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade advice and advising New Zealanders not to travel to China.

Useful travel information can be found here.