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Harvard to Restrict Travel to Italy, Iran Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

Harvard has restricted all University-related travel to Italy and Iran after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended Americans "avoid nonessential travel" to the two countries.
Harvard has restricted all University-related travel to Italy and Iran after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended Americans "avoid nonessential travel" to the two countries. By Steve S. Li
By Luke A. Williams and Matteo N. Wong, Crimson Staff Writers

UPDATED: March 1, 11:13 p.m

Harvard has restricted travel to Italy and Iran amid an outbreak of coronavirus cases in the two countries, according to an email from University Provost Alan M. Garber ’76 and Harvard University Health Services Director Giang T. Nguyen Saturday.

The email came a day after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued Level 3 warnings for COVID-19 in Italy and Iran Friday, recommending that Americans avoid “all nonessential travel.”

“University travel to Italy, Iran, South Korea and mainland China is restricted until further notice,” the email read.

The Office of Career Services’ Summer Grants and Funding Office announced on its website that, due to uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak, it will not provide funding for travel to any countries under restriction.

As of Sunday afternoon, Italy has reported more than 1,100 cases of the novel coronavirus and 34 deaths. Iran has reported over 900 cases of coronavirus, including over 300 since Friday. The BBC released a report this week estimating that 210 individuals have died in Iran due to the outbreak, but Iranian officials have only confirmed 54 deaths as of Sunday.

Italy and Iran join China and South Korea on Harvard’s list of travel-restricted countries — all of which have Level 3 warnings from the CDC, as well as additional travel warnings from the U.S. State Department.

Harvard affiliates who had registered an upcoming trip to Italy in International SOS MyTrips received an email around noon on Saturday from Harvard Global Support Services announcing that Harvard had canceled all travel to Italy.

“In accordance with the University’s policy for COVID-19 travel restrictions, Harvard-related travel to Italy is restricted until further notice,” the email read.

OCS also sent an email Friday afternoon to certain students who had received funding to study abroad this coming summer, notifying them of the cancellation of awards for travel to restricted countries.

“No funding will be awarded for travel to any destination under Provostial restriction, and Harvard may rescind sponsorship of previously-approved planned travel if warranted prior to your departure,” the email read.

The email also noted changes to the OCS’s summer funding policy due to the cancellations. Students are permitted to accept a Harvard Summer School Study Abroad award even if they are not fully committed to traveling due to uncertainty regarding coronavirus. They also are allowed to change their decision as to whether they will accept or decline summer funding after the fact.

According to the Global Support Services’s website, University affiliates will face restrictions on travel to any country that receives a Level 3 CDC warning in the future.

University Spokesperson Jason Newton declined to comment further on the restrictions, pointing to the guidance posted to the Global Support Services and Harvard University Health Services’s websites.

— Staff writer Luke A. Williams can be reached at luke.williams@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter at @LukeAWilliams22.

— Staff writer Matteo N. Wong can be reached at matteo.wong@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter at @matteo_wong.

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