NorthTec is working with New Zealand government agencies and other education providers to help manage the situation with regard to international students from China who are affected by travel restrictions due to the coronavirus outbreak.
This follows the confirmation last month by Chinese authorities of a new type of coronavirus, known as 2019-nCoV. The Ministry of Health (MoH) is closely monitoring the situation and following guidance from the World Health Organisation.
On Sunday 2 February, the New Zealand Government placed temporary entry restrictions on all foreign nationals travelling from, or transiting through, mainland China, to assist with the containment of the novel coronavirus and to protect New Zealand and the Pacific Islands from the disease.
This took effect from today and will be in place for up to 14 days, with reviews held every 48 hours to monitor the situation.
For NorthTec and other education providers, this means that international students travelling from or through China will not be allowed entry into New Zealand while the restrictions are in place. Most Chinese students at the Raumanga campus were expected to arrive next week, from 10 February, to begin classes a week later. At this point in time these students will not be able to enter New Zealand.
Wayne Jackson, NorthTec Chief Executive, said: “We do not know when the border will re-open but it will be closed for the next 14 days. We will be updated every 48 hours and pass information on to students and staff.
“There are NorthTec international students currently in New Zealand, who left China prior to risk of exposure to the virus.” The Ministry of Health currently advises that the likelihood of an imported case in New Zealand is high, however the likelihood of a widespread outbreaks remains low.
Mr Jackson said: “NorthTec is on ‘Alert Status’ as per our International Office pandemic/epidemic response plan. We have established an Incident Management Group and our Health Centre Nurse, under direction of the Incident Manager, has publicised guidelines provided by the MoH. Correspondence has been sent to all students, staff and Homestay providers who will be updated every two days.
“Our International Director is engaged with the International staff at Auckland and Raumanga campuses in providing guidance and support.”
The students who normally travel to NorthTec do not come from the areas currently identified as the source of the outbreak. Data is under analysis to understand the impact to International student numbers at NorthTec based on their programme of study, students’ place of origin, those who are in New Zealand, those in transit, and those who have yet to leave their home country.