New Zealand's top university is preparing for the worst in light of the coronavirus situation - implementing strategic plans and restricting all non-essential travel to China.

The University of Auckland is also making the most of the expertise of vaccinologists and infectious disease specialists as well as others on staff in the science faculty.

It comes as an Auckland student - studying at an institution that has not been named -has been placed in isolation at Auckland Hospital.

In an email to students this week, the university said that although there have been no confirmed cases here to date, the institution was taking a "precautionary approach".

The University of Auckland has implemented strategic plans in light of the coronavirus situation; including restricting all non-essential university travel to China. Image / Google
The University of Auckland has implemented strategic plans in light of the coronavirus situation; including restricting all non-essential university travel to China. Image / Google

"The university's Strategic Response Team (SRT) met yesterday afternoon to assess the situation and agree the university's response," the email read.

"We have detailed infections disease incident plans that we can activate if required, as well as the expert knowledge of vaccinologists and infection disease specialists in our faculties."

Students were also informed that all non-essential university travel to China has been restricted.

Coronavirus outbreak: update No cases of coronavirus have been identified in New Zealand, however the University is...

Posted by The University of Auckland on Tuesday, 28 January 2020

"These restrictions may change to include other affected countries in the future."

A dedicated page has been posted on the university's website and is due to give students regular updates on the situation.

Students who have travelled to countries affected by the virus - or have been in close contact with anyone who has been or may be affected - are also being asked to fill out a "University of Auckland coronavirus form".

"We do not want you to be disadvantaged in your university studies if you have been affected by coronavirus," the top of the form reads.

Anyone filling that form out is asked a series of questions including whether or not an affected student is able to stay away from the university (and others) for at least two weeks and if they intended to live in student accommodation.



Auckland University's precautionary efforts come as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed more than 100 New Zealanders had now registered themselves on SafeTravel as being in the city of Wuhan, where the virus is thought to have originated.

That is a marked jump from the 53 Kiwis said to be in the city as of yesterday.

The number of Australians on the ground was about 600 people as of yesterday - but it is thought that that figure has increased also.

Ardern said she and Australian PM Scott Morrison were working out details about how to get Kiwis and Australians out of the city - whether that be on chartered flights or defence force aircraft.

"We're in a similar boat to Australia and that's why we're working together," she said on the Mike Hosking Show this morning.


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Ardern said the Government had a pandemic plan in place and confirmed that those Kiwis evacuated from the city would not be taken to Christmas Island but would be brought to New Zealand.

The location, however, has not been revealed; but they would be quarantined for some time.

She said part of the process was having to get permission from Chinese authorities to carry out the mass evacuations.


A Chinese student was said to be in isolation at Auckland City Hospital after returning from Hubei Province - the epicentre of the epidemic - with a cough.


It is not known exactly which educational institution the student attends.

However, an accommodation provider told the Herald yesterday that they had sent the male student to hospital after he turned up feeling ill.

The accommodation provider confirmed that an Auckland District Health Board nurse had asked him yesterday, via email, whether he would be okay to accommodate the student until his test results were analysed.

But the provider declined the request because of the many other students living in his building.

"It may be two weeks [until] we get the tests back and they are asking if I will house him. I have hundreds of students in the building right now.

"I can lock them up in an apartment - but who is going to feed the kid? Who is going to make sure he's still alive?"