Staff and students returning from areas identified as “high risk” will be banned from the College for two weeks after they arrive back in Ireland, Trinity announced tonight, in a move to reduce the risk that the disease will spread.
The areas in question are China, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Iran, Japan or the Lombardy, Veneto, Emilia-Romagna or Piedmont regions in Italy.
The College will be making separate arrangements for staff and students affected by the ban. All work-related travel to the high-risk areas has also been banned, and staff and students are being encouraged to minimise travel abroad for work-related trips.
In an email sent to staff and students this evening, College Secretary John Coman and Niamh Farrelly, the acting director of College Health, wrote that “a Trinity Covid-19 Working Group has been operating for some weeks and that the Major Emergency Management Team has met in recent days and that decisions are being taken to reduce the risks from the virus”.
Despite rumours that a second case had been confirmed in Trinity, Coman and Farrelly wrote that “at this time, NO other case has been diagnosed to our knowledge”.
The College also said that “students and staff planning to return to campus on Monday (March 9) should assume that classes, laboratories etc will take place as normal unless they are informed otherwise by their head of area”.
In an email sent to staff and students last night, Provost Patrick Prendergast wrote that the College was informed of a positive case of coronavirus “late on Thursday night”, marking the first case in Trinity.
“We are now working closely with the authorities to ensure that this individual receives the best care possible”, Prendergast said.
“The HSE will trace anyone who has been in contact with the infected individual to ensure they receive any necessary medical attention”, he said.
“The HSE and University will now take all appropriate steps to contain any further spread of the virus and protect your welfare and the welfare of the University community.”
“The relevant part of the University (Floor 4 of the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute), and the lifts in TBSI, have been closed as a precautionary measure and will be cleaned in accordance with HSE guidelines.”
Trinity announced today that it would not require its student on Erasmus exchange in Italy to return home, despite a rapid increase in the number of cases there.
In an email statement to The University Times, Thomas Deane, a media relations officer in Trinity, said: “Trinity is not requiring students on Erasmus placement to return to Ireland but we have written to each of them individually in the last week asking them to inform us of the arrangements their host universities have made to ensure the successful completion of their academic programme, and to share information of their plans.”
Deane said: “All of our partner universities have made arrangements for the remaining teaching/learning and assessment to be completed online. As a result some Trinity students have returned to Ireland or the UK or other home countries in Europe, but most have elected to remain in Italy.”
“Those electing to return have been advised to follow the HSE and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade guidelines on arrival.”