Coronavirus outbreak causes travel concerns for UW Madison

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- As the coronavirus spreads in Asia, concerns over the outbreak led UW-Madison to suspend their study abroad program in South Korea. The university announced the decision Wednesday.

According to UW-Madison spokesperson John Lucas, the decision was made after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) raised their Warning Level to a 3, recommending people avoid nonessential travel to South Korea.

The university had five students enrolled in the program for the spring semester. The students and UW-Madison's university partners in South Korea were notified Tuesday night.

Study abroad programs in China had already been suspended.

The university also cautioned all students about traveling internationally during spring break, which starts March 14.

In an email to students, Chancellor Rebecca Blank encouraged students to check travel advisories often from the U.S. Department of State and the CDC.

The email said in part, "You may have to reach difficult decisions to change or even cancel plans to ensure your own well-being and timely return to Madison."

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services echoed those recommendations. DHS officials said they are offering travel advice to other Wisconsin universities ahead of spring break.

"Just be mindful of what's going on around the world and how much it could change and plan accordingly," said Chuck Warzecha, Deputy Administrator of the Department of Public Health.

UW-Madison is monitoring the coronavirus outbreak. Lucas told NBC15 the university is watching to see if any other study abroad programs need changes.