Coronavirus is a respiratory virus that can cause pneumonia. Know the symptoms and call your GP or Student Health urgently if you think you have been exposed.
Coronaviruses are a large and diverse family of viruses that originate in animals but are known to infect people and cause respiratory illness. Coronaviruses include the common cold, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). Early in January 2020 Chinese officials identified a new coronavirus, 2019-nCov.
This coronavirus originated in the city of Wuhan, Hubei province, China. It has spread widely throughout China, and into more than a dozen other countries, leading to the World Health Organisation to announce a global public health emergency.
The University is closely monitoring the global outbreak of coronavirus and is working with health authorities and following their advice. The University has up-to-date procedures in place to manage events of this type, and our response can be scaled up as necessary. We will continue to update our website and social media as the situation develops.
The symptoms and duration of novel coronavirus
Symptoms of 2019-nCoV coronavirus are similar to a range of other illnesses such as influenza and the common cold. They include:
- Difficulty breathing.
Difficulty breathing can be a sign of pneumonia and requires immediate medical attention.
Current World Health Organisation assessments suggest that the time between contracting the virus and seeing symptoms of the virus varies between 1–12.5 days, with median estimates of 5–6 days between infection and symptoms.
The incubation period for the virus is considered to be 14 days. This means if you have not had symptoms within 14 days after possible exposure, you are unlikely to have the virus.
If you have travelled recently from China
If you have recently travelled from mainland China either directly, or via another country within the last 14 days, you are potentially at risk of contracting the virus. As per Ministry of Health advice, you need to self-isolate on arrival for a period of 14 days. Students who feel unwell should contact Student Health by phone in the first instance on +64 4 463 5308, or for after-hours concerns please call Healthline 0800 611 116, the coronavirus line on 0800 358 5453, or your GP for medical advice.
If you are self-isolating, you should avoid situations where the virus could spread, such as public gatherings and events, shops, restaurants, childcare centres or schools. The Ministry of Health has updated its advice about self-isolation.
From Monday 3 February, the government placed temporary entry restrictions into New Zealand on all foreign nationals travelling from or transiting through mainland China. New Zealand citizens and permanent residents returning to New Zealand will still be able to enter, along with their immediate family members, but will need to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival back in the country.
The Ministry of Health has useful information for those travelling to New Zealand [PDF; 110 KB].
What do I do if I think I have the virus?
If you are unwell and have reason to believe you have coronavirus, students are asked to contact Student Health by phone (not in person) on +64 4 463 5308 or call your GP, or the dedicated line for health-related calls about coronavirus 0800 358 5453, or from a mobile +64 9 358 5453.
How to protect yourself
The key to keeping yourself safe is practising good hygiene and hand-washing techniques, including:
- Washing hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or hand sanitiser
- Coughing and sneezing into your elbow or a tissue, rather than your hands, and putting the used tissue straight into the rubbish and washing your hands
- Avoiding close contact with anyone who has fever and a cough
- Staying at home if you have flu-like symptoms
University’s medical response
Student Health and Counselling (Mauri Ora) is coordinating the medical response across the University as well as being in close contact with external public health agencies. It is an evolving scenario and updates will continue to be fed through the website and social media.
The Ministry of Health has detailed health information.
Outgoing travel advice
The University is following the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in advising New Zealanders not to travel to China and advising those who are currently in China to return immediately.
The restrictions in place because of coronavirus may change to include other countries, and any further advice regarding travel will be updated on this page and via the University’s main Facebook and Twitter pages.
You can also find information on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Safetravel website.
For those coming back to University
If you cannot return to New Zealand due to travel restrictions
Wellington University International is working with students directly affected by the travel ban in place after 2 February 2020.
We know quarantine and travel restrictions might stop people attending University in the coming weeks and that this may cause you and your families to be concerned about course work, fees, visas, and so on. The University will work with students to ensure that none of our students or staff are disadvantaged by this situation.