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Update on 2019 Novel Coronavirus

Posted by Dalhousie University on January 30, 2020 in News

To: The Dalhousie University community
From: Teri Balser, Provost and Vice-President Academic and Ian Nason, Vice-President Finance and Administration
Date: January 30, 2020

Re: Update on 2019 Novel Coronavirus

We have been receiving questions regarding the 2019 Novel Coronavirus(Coronavirus) from faculty, staff and students. The university is continuing to actively monitor developments.

At this time, the Public Health Agency of Canada indicates that the overall health risk in Canada remains low. There are no confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Nova Scotia. Public Health and the health-care system in Nova Scotia are closely monitoring the outbreak in Hubei province, China and working in close partnership with Nova Scotian universities as well as the Federal and Provincial governments. Public Health is not recommending canceling events or gatherings.

Below, you’ll find the latest available information on the Coronavirus. An information sheet from the Province of Nova Scotia is also attached. All this information can also be found at Further updates will be provided as we obtain additional information to share with the Dal community.

Please note the general health precautions for the Coronavirus also apply to influenza in general — a good reminder this time of year to take general precautions such as washing your hands frequently and, if you have a severe cold or the flu, to stay home from school or work. It’s also not too late to get your flu shot through your health-care provider or your local pharmacy.

Some additional notes:

  • Like many Canadian universities, Dalhousie currently has a number of students in China on cooperative education terms. Student Affairs and our International Centre are engaging regularly with these students to provide support during this time.
  • We recognize how stressful it is for students and others in our community here in Canada when families and friends at home are affected by this outbreak. The university has a number of supports for students through Student Health and Wellness in Halifax and in Truro as well as for faculty/staff through the Employee and Family Assistance Program. The International Centre teams in Halifax and Truro are also available for support. Contact information for all of these is available at the bottom of this message. Please don’t hesitate to reach out.
  • A group of researchers in our Faculty of Medicine are fundraising to purchase urgent medical supplies for health-care workers in Wuhan, China on the front lines of the global outbreak. Visit their GoFundMe page for more information.

What precautions should I take?

Please visit for more information.

The only individuals who need to take additional precautionary measures at this time are those who have a) travelled to Hubei province, China within the past 14 days, or b) been in close contact with a person with a confirmed case of the Coronavirus or c) in close contact with someone with respiratory symptoms who has been to Hubei province, China within 14 days prior to their illness onset.

For all other individuals, simply follow routine prevention measures for staying healthy in general:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water and use hand sanitizer when needed
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue
  • If you have a severe cold or the flu, stay home if possible
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick 
  • Get your flu shot. This is the most effective way to prevent getting influenza.

Current status in Canada

At this time, the Public Health Agency of Canada indicates that the overall health risk in Canada remains low. The public health risk is continually reassessed as new information becomes available.

Information regarding the Coronavirus is continually updated by the Public Health Agency of Canada, Global Affairs Canada and by Dalhousie’s international travel service provider, International SOS.  

Travel advice

Because of the evolving nature of the situation, and the risk of additional travel restrictions by the Chinese government, the university is strongly advising against all travel to China. The Provost may approve requests from individuals to travel in exceptional circumstances.

Global Affairs Canada is currently advising travellers to avoid non-essential travel to China and avoid all travel to Hubei province, including the cities of Wuhan, Huanggang and Ezhou.

Students with questions about international travel should contact the International Centre at:

902-494-1566 (Halifax)
902-893-6545 (Truro) 

Faculty and staff with questions about international travel can contact Human Resources at:


Students, faculty and staff who are traveling internationally should ensure they have registered their travel with International SOS. When faculty, staff and students register their travel with Dalhousie through International SOS, it ensures that the university can respond quickly and effectively in the event of an emergency.

Students, faculty and staff should also download the International SOS app and check it regularly for updates.

Dalhousie students in health-care settings

For students undertaking learning in health-care settings, the leaders of our Health and Medicine faculties are aware of the steps needed to protect our students, should it become necessary. Students, faculty and staff in health settings should follow the directions of the administration of the facility.

Who should I contact at Dalhousie if I have questions?

Contacts for students

Student Health and Wellness

902-494-2171 (Halifax)
902-893-6369 (Truro)

International Centre

902-494-1566 (Halifax)
902-893-6545 (Truro)

Contacts for Dalhousie faculty and staff

Health-related inquiries

Contact your family doctor or call 8-1-1 to speak with a registered nurse in Nova Scotia.

Travel-related inquiries

Human Resources

Employee and Family Assistance program