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Your Safety: Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Spring Break Travel

Health Advisory on behalf of Dr. Rich Wittman, Medical Director, Stanford University and SLAC Occupational Health Centers

With spring break travel season approaching, we write to provide updates regarding COVID-19 /SARS-CoV-2 (formerly 2019-nCoV or novel coronavirus). The number of cases of COVID-19 continues to rise worldwide, with over 80,000 cases in more than 45 countries, according to WHO, including in Asia, Europe, Africa, South America, and the Middle East. CDC anticipates sustained transmission and community spread within the United States, despite quarantine measures that are in place.

Stanford is actively monitoring the situation, working in close alignment with CDC and County public health specialists on preparedness and policy. Stanford University is currently restricting all travel to China and South Korea, with a 14-day self-isolation policy upon return from travel to these countries. The University additionally recommends avoiding travel to Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, Iran, and Italy, with the possibility that the 14-day self-isolation period may be extended to these and other locations.

Travel Safety

The COVID-19 situation is rapidly evolving. We encourage members of the Stanford community to strongly consider deferring non-essential international travel during spring break and in the months ahead, keeping in mind the following:

  1. COVID-19 will continue to spread in countries with identified cases and to new areas. Many countries have only recently gained the capacity to reliably test for COVID-19, so the reported data underestimates the number of cases worldwide.  Stanford continues to assess travel risks based upon the number of cases, degree of community spread, public health and medical infrastructure, and other factors. Please check the Stanford COVID-19 FAQ for any new travel restriction updates before departing the United States. 
  2. Please stay actively alert to changes and developments that may affect your plans.
    • Monitor travel advisories daily, including potential restrictions on border crossings.
    • Countries you visit may decide to implement travel restrictions with very little notice, impacting your ability to return to campus.
    • Airlines may cancel/limit flights in or out of a country or region. 
    • Additional quarantine measures may be applied by the U.S. and other countries. International SOS has compiled a comprehensive list of these restrictions. Re-entry to the U.S. could be restricted. Stanford’s 14-day self-isolation policy may be extended to other countries.
  3. Foreign nationals should check their immigration documents before leaving the U.S.
  4. Register your travel with Stanford. Whether you are traveling for research, conferences, or other reasons, please register your travel, so that the university will be able to contact you in the event of a major emergency or changing circumstances related to your travel destination.  For more information about international travel emergencies and assistance, go to

For Additional Information

For information about Stanford’s policies and response to COVID-19, visit Environmental Health & Safety's Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) webpage.  

There is understandable concern about this newly-circulating coronavirus, which appears to spread efficiently early in the infection course.  We encourage everyone to take general preventive measures to reduce the risk of acquiring or transmitting any virus, as recommended each flu season. If you are sick, please take steps to avoid spreading any illness to others, stay home from work, and seek appropriate medical care.

Stanford is continuing to monitor the situation closely, with the health and well-being of our community firmly in mind. We will continue to provide updates as new information becomes available.

Rich Wittman, MD MPH
Medical Director
Stanford University and SLAC Occupational Health Centers

Health, Working at Stanford