Update: the University's response to coronavirus

The University is continuing to work closely with health authorities to ensure the health and wellbeing of our students, staff, and our community.

We are in contact with new and returning students in China affected by the virus and travel restrictions to provide them with support and advice. We are encouraging students to continue with the enrolment process and will offer them as much flexibility as possible around potential start dates and online options.

If you are unable to return to New Zealand as planned, or you have concerns about what to do when you arrive, please email international@vuw.ac.nz.

Late enrolments and visas

The University is looking to extend its enrolment and fee payment dates for students affected by the virus and travel restrictions, and we will have more detail early next week.

The University will not be charging a financial penalty for students affected by the travel restrictions put in place thanks to coronavirus who are unable to pay their fees on time.

Alongside Universities New Zealand, we have been working with a range of government officials on issues including visa conditions for students affected by the travel restrictions. Immigration New Zealand has said it will extend the ‘first entry’ date for student visa holders affected by the travel restrictions. It has also said it is looking at refund options for students awaiting a visa decision who are now unable to travel as a result of the restrictions. We will post the link to this advice as soon as it is available.

For specific coronavirus-related immigration queries, contact the Immigration Contact Centre on 0508 225 288 (within New Zealand) or +64 9 952 1679 (outside New Zealand).

Health information

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.

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

We have sent a form to all students enrolled in a hall of residence for 2020 asking them to provide information about their recent travel.

To protect your health:

  • 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 places

University procedures

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.


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.


At this point it is an evolving scenario and updates will be provided on this website and through social media.