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IU students’ concern for family in China grows during coronavirus outbreak



In mainland China, coronavirus continues to threaten lives as confirmed cases rise to more than 28,000. As the virus spreads, some IU international students are worried about the health of their families. 

The coronavirus originated in Wuhan, China, and has caused at least 565 deaths worldwide since December. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a travel warning Jan. 6 advising against nonessential travel to the Hubei Province in China. On Feb. 4, the CDC warned against nonessential travel to mainland China.

Junior Caesar Xu said the outbreak is especially alarming because it’s unprecedented. His family lives in Hanzhong, China. The city is not under quarantine, but it’s close to cities that are.

Xu is involved with the American Chinese Youth Association and Chinese Students Association at IU. He said members of both organizations are raising money for hospitals in China and to help purchase face masks.He said they have raised about $2,000.

“We try to collect more donations to Wuhan and there’s nothing more we can do right now,” Xu said. “There’s no masks here. We can only donate money.”

IU spokesperson Chuck Carney said there are meetings every day at the university level and meetings every week involving state health officials to discuss keeping students safe.He said students should take precautions just as they would for the flu.

“We stress that we want the students to use common sense about this," Carney said.

Carney said everyone studying abroad in affected areas has returned and the university will not be sending anyone back until the State Department lifts the travel advisory.

Junior Jinhao Luo, the president of the American Chinese Youth Association, said Chinese students in the club will continue to work and study as normal and contribute donations if they can. 

Luo said many students have concerns for their families.

Xu said when he talks to his family he tells them not to worry about him but to worry about themselves.

Xu’s family only goes out every few days to buy food, he said. Many factories are shut down right now, and people who can are working online at home. He said children would normally be in school, but they are staying at home working on homework and do not know when they will return to class.

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