Wetenschap - 1 januari 1970

Newcomers from China isolated for ten days because of Sars

Newcomers from China isolated for ten days because of Sars


Students and employees travelling to Wageningen from China will be isolated
for ten days on arrival. Although there are no medical grounds for this
measure, the university board wants to ease the worries expressed by those
who come in close contact with people from Sars infected regions.

The Association for Chinese Students and Scholars in Wageningen (CASSW)
fully supports the university in the measures it has introduced. The
association is concerned that the Sars virus may be introduced into
Wageningen by one of the many Chinese students or employees and therefore
requests the cooperation of all the Chinese.

However, according to the Dutch home office these quarantine-like measures
are unnecessary and may even magnify feelings of concern and panic. Simon
Vink, spokesman for the university board, is confronted with a difficult
dilemma. He tells that at first total isolation was not required. But when
three Chinese MBA students went on a trip to their home country, the
residents on their floor told them they would not be welcome on their
return.
The university board therefore decided to fully isolate the travellers for
ten days, in the hope of taking away any remaining concerns. The Chinese
student association thinks that the board made a wise decision. However,
president Sanwen Huang says that one student who is currently in isolation
has no phone or internet access in his room, and therefore has no contact
with the outside world. Huang hopes that facilities will be better in the
future. In the meantime the student association is doing its best to ease
the situation for the isolated students. Spokesman Vink promised that the
university will make sure that the students get a phone and Internet
access.

At this moment not many Chinese are expected, but if the outbreak continues
the large numbers of Chinese students due to arrive in August may cause
problems. According to Vink the university is in regular e-mail contact
with eighty percent of the expected students to keep them posted on the
situation.

Apart from Chinese students, the concerns also include Dutch students and
employees doing work in China. They have all been recalled to the
Netherlands, and scheduled meetings with Chinese delegations in Wageningen
and business trips to China have been cancelled until further notice.

Leonie Mossink

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