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Kent State University requires all students studying in Italy to return to US amid coronavirus crisis

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Posted at 8:46 PM, Feb 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-29 23:34:23-05

FLORENCE, Italy  — Kent State University is requiring all students studying abroad in Florence, Italy to return to the United States due to the rapidly developing coronavirus COVID-19 crisis in the country.

After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the rise to a Level 3 Travel Health Notice, the University started making travel arraignments for all of the students in the program to return to the United States while directly working with them to ensure they can continue their studies, the press release stated.

At least 219 people in Italy's north have tested positive for the virus, and five people have died. According to NBC News, 167 cases of the virus have been confirmed in the Lombardy region of Italy, which includes Milan.

According to NBC News, at least 10 cities in northern Italy with populations above 50,000 were locked down Monday to help contain the spread of COVID-19. Public events across the country were canceled, including some events with Venice's famed Carnival celebration.

The Kent State University Florence program has been operating for more than 40 years, providing academic and cultural lessons for the students enrolled.

“Our students’ health and safety is our foremost priority, and we believe these steps are necessary for their protection,” the school said in the press release.

News 5 has reached out to Kent State University for further details and are waiting to hear back.

The CDC lists the following instructions for those who have spent time in Italy during the past 14 days and feel sick with a fever, cough or difficulty breathing:

  • Take your temperature.
  • Seek medical advice. Call ahead before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room. Tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Do not travel while sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean your hands often by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%–95% alcohol immediately after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose. Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty.

For more information on the CDC's Level 3 Travel Warning to Italy, click here.

RELATED: Coronavirus cases spike in Italy: 219 sickened, five dead