Dear Colleagues,

As you have likely seen in the news, the U.S. State Department guidance on travel to China is currently set to Level 4: Do Not Travel due to the novel (new) coronavirus (Wuhan 2019-nCoV) that was first detected in Wuhan City, China and which continues to expand.

While nearly all confirmed cases have been in China, the public health situation in China and the U.S. continues to develop. On January 31, U.S. federal authorities declared a public health emergency and instituted new rules for travelers from China.

With the health and well-being of our campus community at top of mind, MBL leadership has been and will continue to monitor the situation and is coordinating with counterparts at the University of Chicago. The MBL strongly discourages all travel to mainland China and Hong Kong during this period by members of the MBL community. Because of public health measures in effect in China and the U.S., and the potential for additional steps in the weeks ahead, travelers are likely to have difficulty returning from China. Most commercial air carriers have reduced or suspended routes to and from China.

Individuals are encouraged to take steps that help prevent any respiratory infection—whether it’s the flu or a common cold. These steps include:

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

The latest information and updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are available here.

The MBL will provide updates and relevant new information on the coronavirus as needed. Staff are encouraged to reach out to Ann Egan, Director of Human Resources, (; x7622) with any questions or concerns.

Paul Speer PhD
Chief Operating Officer
Marine Biological Laboratory