Monitoring the Spread of COVID-19 in Other Countries

 February 24, 2020

TO:Vice Presidents, Vice Provosts, Deans, Directors, Department Heads, and Managers
FROM:Kyle Cavanaugh, Vice President, Administration, Emergency Coordinator
RE:Monitoring the Spread of COVID-19 in Other Countries

Duke officials are monitoring the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) over the past several days to a number of countries, including Italy, South Korea and Japan, and are assessing the impact on current and future programs in those areas.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has moved Japan and South Korea to Alert-Level 2 status, which recommends older adults and those with chronic medical conditions consider postponing nonessential travel. All others should review and follow the CDC’s guidelines for the prevention of coronavirus if they decide to travel to South Korea. While the U.S. State Department has not issued any further travel restrictions for those countries, the continued spread of COVID-19 could lead to potential travel restrictions or quarantines for those returning to the U.S from certain areas. Those considering travel should continue to monitor the U.S. State Department website and commercial airline websites for updates.

At this time, we do not know of any Duke students, faculty or staff currently in South Korea or Japan. However, if departments are aware of individuals who may be in those countries, please notify Christy Parrish with Global Administrative and Travel Support at 919-684-2910 or

In addition, Hong Kong, Iran, and Italy are on the CDC’s Alert-Level 1 watch list as communal spread of COVID-19 has increased in recent days. While the overall number of cases is still small within these countries, the recent increase has raised the level of monitoring.

The university task force, which includes officials from Student Health, Employee Health, Infectious Diseases, the Global Education Office and other areas, is meeting regularly to review ongoing plans to help ensure the safety of our students, faculty, and staff around the globe. I want to express my deep gratitude for their work and the efforts of countless others to respond to this evolving situation.

We will continue to distribute updates on major issues as needed and post updates on the Duke Coronavirus Response website. Thank you.