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Japan universities take steps against coronavirus infection

Woman wearing face mask and holding books. (Shutterstock)
Woman wearing face mask and holding books. (Shutterstock)
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09 Feb 2020 08:02:59 GMT9
09 Feb 2020 08:02:59 GMT9

Japanese universities are scrambling to deal with the threat of its students being infected with the new coronavirus wreaking havoc in China.

Many schools are monitoring the health condition of Japanese and Chinese students, especially those who have visited China for the Lunar New Year holidays.

Ritsumeikan University, which hosts some 1,400 students from China, called or emailed 25 students who are from the city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.

According to the school, based in the western Japan city of Kyoto, 22 of the students have not left Japan in the last month, but two are currently in Wuhan.

The school confirmed the health status of the two in the virus-stricken city. It is also seeking to gain information from 35 other students from Hubei Province, where the city is located.

The school operator Ritsumeikan Trust published a warning on Tuesday for students and faculty staff members entering Japan from China. It called on those with fever or other symptoms to inform the airport quarantine, and on those without symptoms to monitor their health for two weeks from their arrival.

Another university run by the school operator, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University in the city of Beppu, Oita Prefecture, southwestern Japan, decided to cancel all programs taking place in China. It also canceled plans to send three exchange students to the country from this month.

Other universities such as Doshisha University in Kyoto and Tokyo University of Science also called off their programs in China.

Tokushima University in western Japan had two Japanese students studying at Wuhan University. Both returned to Japan in early January before the Lunar New Year holidays, and one of them was slated to return to Wuhan in mid-February. However, the coronavirus outbreak postponed the start of classes at the university, forcing the student to remain in Japan.

"We ask those returning from China to stay at home for two weeks," a representative from Gakushuin University in Tokyo said. The school called on its Chinese students in an email to be careful of possible infections when traveling home for the holidays.

Some Japanese students studying in China are seeking to suspend their study abroad program and return to Japan. According to the administrative office of the public-private "Tobitate!

Study Abroad Initiative" academic aid program, many students receiving scholarships from the initiative have contacted it to ask about how suspending studies abroad will affect their financial aid.

"(Students) can rest assured that we will deal with the issue flexibly and not demand repayments," a representative said.

JIJI Press

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