Information for the Western community regarding COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus)

This website is updated as Western learns new information regarding COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus).


Updated March 5 – 1 p.m.

Western continues to monitor the ongoing situation with COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) and takes its direction and shares information from federal, provincial and local health authorities.

For travellers who have been to Hubei province (China) and Iran in the past 14 days:

  • Contact the Middlesex-London Health Unit’s (MLHU) Infectious Disease Control Team at 519-663-5317 within 24 hours of return to Canada, to arrange for monitoring, and;
  • Self-isolate and stay at home for 14 days since last being in Hubei province and Iran, and;
  • Self-monitor for fever, cough, or difficulty breathing.

This advice is for all travellers returning from Hubei province and Iran, regardless of whether or not they are currently experiencing symptoms.

Should these individuals develop symptoms, they are to:

  • Notify the MLHU Infectious Disease Control Team at 519-663-5317 immediately and;
  • Notify their healthcare provider prior to visiting any healthcare facility.

For travellers who have been to mainland China (excluding Hubei province), Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Singapore, or South Korea in the past 14 days:

  • Self monitor for fever, cough, or difficulty breathing for 14 days, and
  • Avoid crowded places.

Should any of these individuals develop symptoms of COVID-19 within 14 days of their return, they are to:

  • Self-isolate immediately, and;
  • Notify MLHU Infectious Disease Control Team at 519-663-5317 immediately for further assessment, and;
  • Notify their healthcare provider prior to visiting any healthcare facility.

If you are a Western student who cannot return to class for a period of time due to self-isolation, or require support of any kind, please contact Student Support and Case Management at 519-661-2111 x89152 or sscm@uwo.ca.

If you are a Western faculty or staff member who cannot return to work for a period of time due to required self-isolation, please speak with your supervisor/manager.


How to protect yourself

The Middlesex-London Health Unit recommends the following to stay healthy and to prevent the spread of viruses:

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water often, for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with your sleeve; or cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue, then throw the tissue in the garbage.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch objects and surfaces frequently.

University-sanctioned travel - updated March 5

Due to current Government of Canada travel advisories, all university-sanctioned travel for Western students to mainland China and Iran has been cancelled until further notice.

Western has also cancelled all university-sanctioned student travel from March 1 to September 1, 2020 for the following destinations that have been identified by the Government of Canada as affected by COVID-19: Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea.

University-sanctioned travel includes exchange, research placements, field courses, conference travel, or any other travel that has been approved, authorized or supported by a Western University unit, department, staff or faculty member.

While Western’s Safety Abroad Policy does not govern faculty and staff travel, we strongly encourage all members of the campus community to follow Government of Canada travel advice and advisories. Additional information and resources are available on Western’s Safety Abroad website

Updated February 28 – 6 a.m.

Western continues to monitor the ongoing situation with COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) and takes its direction and shares information from federal, provincial and local health authorities.

On February 26, the Government of Canada updated the list of countries affected by COVID-19. In addition to China, the following countries and regions are now also considered to be affected by COVID-19: Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea.

Western has a number of students, faculty and staff returning from university-sanctioned trips, including from some of the affected regions. The University has been working closely with the Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) to take the proper precautions and communicate appropriately to these students, faculty and staff providing the following recommendations.

For travellers who have been to mainland China, Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, Japan, Singapore, or South Korea in the past 14 days:

  • Monitor yourself for the development of respiratory symptoms that include fever, coughing or difficulty breathing.
  • If these symptoms develop within 14 days of leaving the affected country, self-isolate and contact the Middlesex-London Health Unit’s Infectious Disease Control Team immediately at 519-663-5317 and advise staff there of your travel history and symptoms.
  • To self-isolate means staying home from work, classes and all other activities.
  • If your symptoms are severe, seek medical care immediately.

If you have travelled to Hubei Province within the last 14 days

  • Once you’ve returned to Canada, self-isolate at home and contact the Middlesex-London Health Unit’s Infectious Disease Control Team, at 519-663-5317 within 24 hours of your arrival.
  • To self-isolate means staying home from work, classes and all other activities for 14 days from the date you left Hubei Province.
  • Please follow these guidelines whether or not you have respiratory symptoms such as fever, coughing or difficulty breathing.

Understandably, the news of these additional affected countries may cause concern for members of our campus community. While the situation is evolving globally, the risk to the London community remains low.

It’s important that as a community, we continue to look out for each other and approach our peers and colleagues with empathy and kindness.

If you are a Western student who cannot return to class for a period of time due to self-isolation, or require support of any kind, please contact Student Support and Case Management at 519-661-2111 x89152 or sscm@uwo.ca. Western understands that travel related to the COVID-19 is an evolving situation and as such, we will work with students to provide appropriate academic accommodations. 

If you are a Western faculty or staff member who cannot return to work for a period of time due to required self-isolation, please speak with your supervisor/manager.


How to protect yourself

As with most respiratory illnesses, the Middlesex-London Health Unit recommends the following to stay healthy and to prevent the spread of viruses:

  • Stay home when you are sick.

  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water often, for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

  • Cover coughs and sneezes with your sleeve; or cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue, then throw the tissue in the garbage.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

  • Clean and disinfect high-touch objects and surfaces frequently.


Travel safety - as of February 28

The Canadian government has issued an advisory to avoid all non-essential travel to China, and to avoid all travel to Hubei province. This "Level 3" advisory triggers Western’s Safety Abroad Policy and subsequently cancels all university-sanctioned* travel for Western students to China until further notice.

On February 26, the Public Health Agency of Canada updated the list of countries and regions affected by COVID-19. As a result, Western University has also cancelled all university-sanctioned* student travel from March 1, 2020 to September 1, 2020 for the following destinations: Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, Singapore, and South Korea.

*University-sanctioned travel includes exchange, research placements, field courses, conference travel, or any other travel that has been approved, authorized or supported by a Western University unit, department, staff or faculty member.

While Western’s Safety Abroad Policy does not govern faculty and staff travel, we strongly encourage all members of the campus community to follow Government of Canada travel advisories and closely monitor travel advice from the Public Health Agency of Canada. Additional information and resources are available on Western’s Safety Abroad website. 

Updated February 25 – 12 p.m.

Western continues to monitor the ongoing situation with COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) and takes its direction and shares information from federal, provincial and local health authorities.

We encourage the campus community to be mindful of the following guidelines from the Middlesex-London Health Unit:

If you have travelled to Hubei Province within the last 14 days:
Once you’ve returned to Canada, self-isolate at home and contact the Middlesex-London Health Unit’s Infectious Disease Control Team, at 519-663-5317 within 24 hours of your arrival.

To self-isolate means staying home from work, classes and all other activities for 14 days from the date you left Hubei Province.

Please follow these guidelines whether or not you have respiratory symptoms such as fever, coughing or difficulty breathing.

  • If your symptoms are severe, seek medical care immediately.
  • If you have travelled to mainland China within the last 14 days:
  • Monitor yourself for the development of respiratory symptoms that include fever, coughing or difficulty breathing.
  • If these symptoms develop within 14 days of leaving mainland China self-isolate and contact the Middlesex-London Health Unit’s Infectious Disease Control Team immediately, at 519-663-5317 and advise staff there of your travel history and symptoms.
  • To self-isolate means staying home from work, classes and all other activities.
  • If your symptoms are severe, seek medical care immediately.

Updated February 12 – 4:00 p.m.

Earlier today, Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, confirmed that the province's third case of COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) is now resolved: "On January 31, we reported a confirmed case located in London, Ontario. Additional testing has been conducted by both the Public Health Ontario Laboratory and the National Microbiology Lab (Winnipeg). The case has had two negative tests at least 24 hours apart and is therefore considered to be resolved. This means the individual is no longer infectious with COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus)."

Updated February 11 – 3:00 p.m.

Western continues to monitor the ongoing situation with Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) and takes its direction and shares information from federal, provincial and local health authorities.

With Reading Week approaching, we recognize students, faculty and staff may have or be considering travel plans and we encourage the campus community to be mindful of the following: 

  • The Canadian government has issued an advisory to avoid all non-essential travel to China, and to avoid all travel to Hubei province.

  • There has been an increase in travel restrictions for a number of other international locations, which mainly impact travellers who have recently visited China, but can affect all travellers. Consequently, travellers should anticipate heightened screening measures and related disruption at international and country/territory borders even if travellers have not visited China recently.

  • The Middlesex-London Health Unit has issued an important directive for travellers returning to Canada from Hubei province and other areas of mainland China that in some cases requires self-isolation for up to 14 days.

  • A growing list of airlines has suspended flights to and from China.

If you are a Western student who cannot return to class for a period of time due to self-isolation, travel restrictions or flight suspensions, please contact Student Support and Case Management at 519-661-2111 x89152 or sscm@uwo.ca. Western understands that travel related to the Novel Coronavirus is an evolving situation and as such, we will work with individuals to provide appropriate academic accommodations.

If you are a Western faculty or staff member who cannot return to work for a period of time due to required self-isolation, travel restrictions or flight suspensions, please speak with your supervisor/manager. 

Updated February 10 - 11:30 a.m.

Western continues to monitor the ongoing situation with Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) and takes its direction and shares information from federal, provincial and local health authorities.

At this time, the Public Health Agency of Canada has assessed the public health risk associated with 2019-nCoV in Wuhan, China as low for Canada. As such, the University remains open and classes are continuing as normal.

Important facts from the Middlesex-London Health Unit

On February 10, the University received the following update from the  Middlesex-London Health Unit

If you have travelled to Hubei Province within the last 14 days:

  • Once you’ve returned to Canada, self-isolate at home and contact the Middlesex-London Health Unit’s Infectious Disease Control Team, at 519-663-5317 within 24 hours of your arrival. To self-isolate means staying home from work, classes and all other activities for 14 days from the date you left Hubei Province.
  • Please follow these guidelines whether, or not you have respiratory symptoms such as fever, coughing or difficulty breathing.
  • If your symptoms are severe, seek medical care immediately.

If you have travelled to any other area of mainland China within the last 14 days:

  • Monitor yourself for the development of respiratory symptoms that include fever, coughing or difficulty breathing.
  • If these symptoms develop within 14 days of leaving mainland China self-isolate and contact the Middlesex-London Health Unit’s Infectious Disease Control Team immediately, at 519-663-5317 and advise staff there of your travel history and symptoms.
  • To self-isolate means staying home from work, classes and all other activities.
  • If your symptoms are severe, seek medical care immediately.

The risk of 2019-nCoV to London residents remains low. The Health Unit continues to monitor the situation actively, in collaboration with provincial and national health agencies, as well as stakeholders, including local hospitals and community agencies.

Updated January 31, 2020 - 3:30 p.m.

Western University   London Middlesex Health Unit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WESTERN UNIVERSITY | MIDDLESEX-LONDON HEALTH UNIT
January 31, 2020

Statement regarding confirmed Novel Coronavirus case in London

This afternoon, the Ontario Ministry of Health announced the Province’s third confirmed case of Novel Coronavirus.

This individual is a Western student.

Since returning to London, Ont. from Wuhan, China on January 23, and before showing any symptoms, the student took great care and responsibility by self-isolating at home and seeking appropriate medical attention.

The student has not been on Western’s campus since returning to London, and Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) officials have confirmed there is very low risk to the campus community.

Western and MLHU officials are monitoring the student, who is now in good health.

For the latest information on Novel Coronavirus please visit:

Ontario Ministry of Health
Middlesex-London Health Unit

Updated January 31, 2020 - 10 a.m.

Western continues to monitor the ongoing situation with Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

The University takes its direction and shares information from federal, provincial and local health authorities.

At this time, the Public Health Agency of Canada has assessed the public health risk associated with 2019-nCoV in Wuhan, China as low for Canada and for Canadian travelers. As such, the University remains open and classes are continuing as normal.

For the most up-to-date information in Ontario, community members are encouraged to visit the Ontario Ministry of Health website.

Important facts from the Middlesex-London Health Unit

On January 24, the University received the following directive from the  Middlesex-London Health Unit
 
Individuals should stay home and contact the Health Unit at 519-663-5317 if they have a fever (38° Celsius or higher) and are sick with symptoms such as coughing, difficulty breathing, congestion, aches, pains AND any of the following:
 
• Travel to Wuhan, China within 14 days of becoming ill; OR
• Close contact with a person who is sick and has been to Wuhan, China within 14 days of becoming ill; OR
• Close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with Novel Coronavirus 2019
 
If you have any of the conditions above, stay home and do not go to work, school or other public areas until you are no longer sick. If it is necessary to go out while you are ill (for example, to attend a medical appointment), please wear a surgical mask over your nose and mouth, and use a private vehicle for any necessary travel.
 
If you experience severe symptoms such as chest pains or shortness of breath, call 9-1-1 immediately or visit your nearest hospital emergency department.
 
If you do not have a fever or are not sick, but you travelled to Wuhan, China recently, there is no need to visit a doctor at this time. However, if you develop fever, cough, or difficulty breathing in the next 14 days, call the Health Unit at 519-663-5317 and tell them you were travelling in Wuhan, China. 

How to protect yourself

From the  Ontario Ministry of Health:

To reduce exposure to and transmission of a range of illnesses, including coronaviruses, you should follow usual health precautions such as:

  • washing your hands often
  • avoiding contact with people who are sick
  • practising proper cough and sneeze etiquette


Travel safety

Canadian travel advisory for China - January 30, 2020

The Canadian government has issued a new advisory to avoid all non-essential travel to China, and to avoid all travel to Hubei province.

This new "Level 3" advisory triggers   Western’s Safety Abroad Policy and subsequently cancels all university-sanctioned travel for Western students to China until further notice. This includes exchange, research placements, field courses, conference travel, or any other travel that has been approved, authorized or supported by a Western University unit, department, staff or faculty member.

Western’s Safety Abroad Policy does not govern faculty and staff travel. However, we strongly encourage all members of the campus community to follow the   Government of Canada travel advisories and closely monitor the situation. Additional information and resources are available on Western’s Safety Abroad website.

Updated January 24, 2020

Western has started to receive questions regarding the Novel Coronavirus from students, faculty and staff.

The University is monitoring the situation and working closely with our on-campus medical professionals as well as the Middlesex-London Health Unit who provided the following directive on January 24: 
 
Individuals should stay home and contact the Health Unit at 519-663-5317 if they have a fever (38° Celsius or higher) and are sick with symptoms such as coughing, difficulty breathing, congestion, aches, pains AND any of the following:
 
• Travel to Wuhan, China within 14 days of becoming ill; OR
• Close contact with a person who is sick and has been to Wuhan, China within 14 days of becoming ill; OR
• Close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with Novel Coronavirus 2019
 
If you have any of the conditions above, stay home and do not go to work, school or other public areas until you are no longer sick. If it is necessary to go out while you are ill (for example, to attend a medical appointment), please wear a surgical mask over your nose and mouth, and use a private vehicle for any necessary travel.
 
If you experience severe symptoms such as chest pains or shortness of breath, call 9-1-1 immediately or visit your nearest hospital emergency department.
 
If you do not have a fever or are not sick, but you travelled to Wuhan, China recently, there is no need to visit a doctor at this time. However, if you develop fever, cough, or difficulty breathing in the next 14 days, call the Health Unit at 519-663-5317 and tell them you were travelling in Wuhan, China.