February 27, 2020
Villanova University is bringing home its students in Italy, where hundreds of coronavirus cases have been confirmed in recent days.
“Given the rapid increase in the number of confirmed cases in Northern Italy, we have made the decision to bring home our students who are abroad in Italy,” university officials said in a statement issued Wednesday. “The University is in close contact with other study abroad programs in which Villanova students are participating and will determine appropriate responses to additional disruptions caused by the coronavirus.”
Italy, which has 400 coronavirus cases, has locked down about 50,000 people in 10 northern towns.
The Main Line university has an emergency preparedness team regularly reviewing information from outside experts to assess the ways COVID-19 may affect its campus and its students overseas.
“The university continues to closely monitor the evolving situation related to the coronavirus in order to evaluate the outbreak’s impact on our programs overseas, other University international travel and operations here on campus,” university officials added. “We will continue to communicate with students, their families, faculty and staff about the coronavirus, especially given its rapid spread in Italy.”
Officials advised students, faculty and staff to be careful as they travel during the university’s upcoming spring break. They also urged them to stay informed about the spread of coronavirus.
Villanova’s announcement came after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control warned Americans to be prepared for severe disruptions to their everyday lives as the threat of a pandemic looms larger.
The CDC is shifting from a strategy of containment to one of mitigation, saying it’s only a matter of time before community spread begins in the U.S.
There are 15 confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States, including one patient who did not travel to China recently and had no known contact with any of the other victims. That suggests community spread may be occurring in the United States.
Another 45 Americans – including passengers of the Diamond Princess cruise ship and those repatriated from China – also have tested positive for coronavirus. There are currently no confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the Philadelphia area.
Worldwide, there are more than 82,000 coronavirus cases, including more than 2,800 deaths. Though China still has the vast majority of coronavirus cases, the disease has begun spreading in other countries.
There is currently no vaccine or any medications to treat the coronavirus.