Coronavirus (Covid-19) Update

Updated: 11am, Friday 21 February

There is an ongoing outbreak of a novel coronavirus that originated in China and has spread to other countries. The HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre is monitoring the situation and updating its website www.hpsc.ie regularly.

NUI Galway is actively monitoring the situation, and is following the guidance of the Department of Health, the HSE, and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

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What is coronavirus Covid-19?

Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that can cause illnesses. Some of these illnesses are very mild, like the common cold, while others are more severe, like SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome). A 'novel coronavirus' means a new strain of coronavirus that has never been seen in humans before. The coronavirus recently identified in China is one of these. This new coronavirus is named Covid-19.

Symptoms of novel coronavirus Covid-19

It can take up to 14 days for the symptoms of Covid-19 to appear. These symptoms include:

  • Fever (temperature of 38˚C or higher)
  • Cough
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sore throat
Treatment of novel coronavirus Covid-19

There is no specific treatment for Covid-19 at present. But the symptoms of the virus can be treated.

Risk of catching coronavirus in Ireland

Currently, there is no confirmed case of coronavirus in Ireland.

If there is a case here, health professionals will try to contact anyone who has been in contact with the infected person. If you are not contacted, you are extremely unlikely to catch coronavirus. There is no evidence that you can get coronavirus from packages that have come from China or elsewhere.

Travel to and from China

The University is advising that all students and staff in China should return to Ireland.

All other travel plans to and from China should be postponed, in line with Department of Foreign Affairs advice. This holds until further notice.

See notice regarding Travel Insurance below.

Travel to and from other areas in the region

The Department of Foreign Affairs has assigned a ‘high degree of caution’ Security Status to the following countries due to the spread of coronavirus:

We discourage travel to and from these areas until such time as the risk of coronavirus Covid-19 has abated.

If travel to these areas is unavoidable, we advise travellers to carry out a thorough risk assessment in advance of travel, including evacuation planning, and to ensure that your College / Unit manager is aware of the planned travel.

For other countries in East and South-East Asia, we advise staff and students to monitor the Department of Foreign Affairs Travel Advice and to carry out risk assessment on travel plans, including evacuation planning should the Security Status associated with coronavirus be heightened. Please also ensure that your College / Unit manager is aware of the planned travel.

You can find the latest travel advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade at:

If you have travelled from China:

If within the last 14 days, you have:

  • been in mainland China*
  • or have been in contact with a person diagnosed with novel coronavirus
  • or have attended a healthcare facility in another country where patients with novel coronavirus are being treated

please take the following steps:

If you have no acute respiratory symptoms

You are asked to phone your local Department of Public Health for further advice

  • There is no need for quarantine (you do not need to be kept separate from others)
  • You can attend university or work as normal
  • Watch out for symptoms of respiratory illness for 14 days. If you develop any respiratory symptoms you should phone your GP / Student Health Unit (091) 492604 / Emergency Department for advice. Tell the health care provider what symptoms you have and that you have recently been in mainland China*

If you have a fever, cough and/or shortness of breath

  • Stay at home
  • Do not go out to public places like concerts, cinema, restaurants, shops
  • Do not go to university or work
  • Please phone your GP / Student Health Unit (091) 492604 / Emergency Department for medical advice, rather than turning up in person
  • Make sure that, when you phone, you mention that you have recently travelled to China or had exposure. These health services will arrange for you to get medical help

*excluding Hong Kong and Macau

How to protect yourself from novel coronavirus Covid-19
  1. Wash your hands often with soap and water.
  2. If you are coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue. Throw the used tissue away into a closed bin, and wash your hands. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your flexed (bent) elbow.
  3. Avoid close contact with anyone who you know has cold or flu symptoms.
  4. Check the travel advisories from the Department of Foreign Affairs prior to arranging travel abroad.

Hand Hygiene

Good hand hygiene can greatly help reduce the spread of germs. The University has installed hand sanitiser units in buildings across campus, which dispense a small amount of gel to help kill germs on your hands. Regular use will help us stop the spread of germs and bugs in our campus community.

Frequently Asked Questions

See an updated list of FAQs on:

Student Health Unit
  • T: 091 492604
  • Emergency Medical Number: 087-2623997
Community Welfare

Our top priority is the health and safety of our students and staff, and our collective welfare as a university community. Based on our core value of respect for others, we reject prejudicial behaviour and stigma shown towards individual groups in our community.

Travel insurance

The Department of Foreign Affairs has changed its security status to advise travellers to ‘avoid non-essential travel’ to China. As a result, AIG, the University’s travel insurer will not apply cover for any trips booked to China from 29 January onwards. Please be aware of the following conditions relating to Lifeline AIG travel insurance cover:

  • If travelling to China and booking a trip now, there is NO cover under the Cancellation/Curtailment section
  • If the trip was booked or commenced prior to 29 January 2020 at 9.30am, i.e. the date the Security Status changed to ‘avoid non-essential travel’, then cancellation, curtailment and rearrangement is covered
  • If the reason for travel to China is cancelled due to the outbreak of the coronavirus in that specific place, cover will be provided for cancellation, curtailment and rearrangement (section B 4.1)
  • Medical expenses (Section B 1.1) incurred as a result of the virus will be covered under medical expenses should symptoms occur while on your trip if it has already commenced before the change in status

AIG Travel is monitoring the situation and we recommend that travellers to China should sign up for email alerts for the region (see website – www.mylifeline.ie) and also keep an eye on the Department of Foreign Affairs website.

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Policy for Campus Closure due to Severe Weather

Please familiarise yourself with the University's policy and procedures for responding to severe weather, by reading: