uniscovid

BREAKING – COVID-19 SUSPECTED AT UNIS: University says it will take 48 hours to know if ‘some of our students and colleagues’ are infected; fieldwork, in-person classes cancelled

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Photo courtesy of UNIS

The first cases of COVID-19 may have reached Svalbard, as multiple students and staff at The University Centre in Svalbard are suspected of being infected, according to an e-mail sent through the university system by health, safety and infrastructure director Fred S. Hansen on Tuesday evening.

It will be 48 hours after further tests are conducted Wednesday to know if the people in question have the virus, according to the e-mail. In-person classes and fieldwork are cancelled at least until Sunday.

Svalbard has remained one of the few places on Earth with no official COVID-19 cases since the global pandemic was declared in March of 2020, but some alerts have been issused previously about possible infections among local residents and visitors. Hansen, in a brief e-mail interview Tuesday night, noted that as of now “nothing (is) confirmed, just sympthoms that requires testing.”

“We are initiating preventive measures (home office and digital teaching) out this,” he added.

While extraordinary infection control measures have kept Svalbard free of COVID-19 cases, concerns have been expressed during the pandemic about people arriving from elsewhere such as tourists and university students causing local infections.

The e-mail from UNIS sent to its students and staff at about 9:15 p.m. Tuesday:

Dear students and colleagues:

We have reason to suspect that some of our students and colleagues might be infected with covid-19. As for now, this is not confirmed and further tests will be done during Wednesday 15.09.21. It will however take 48h to get the tests analysed.

As preventive measures we are initiating these actions with effect from Wednesday 15.09.21:
Home office for everyone who can.
Digital teaching
Cancelation of fieldwork

The measures will last at least until Sunday 20.09.21.

This is a breaking story with updates in progress.

About Post Author

Mark Sabbatini

I'm a professional transient living on a tiny Norwegian island next door to the North Pole, where once a week (or thereabouts) I pollute our extreme and pristine environment with paper fishwrappers decorated with seemingly random letters that would cause a thousand monkeys with a thousand typewriters to die of humiliation. Such is the wisdom one acquires after more than 25 years in the world's second-least-respected occupation, much of it roaming the seven continents in search of jazz, unrecognizable street food and escorts I f****d with by insisting they give me the platonic tours of their cities promised in their ads. But it turns out this tiny group of islands known as Svalbard is my True Love and, generous contributions from you willing, I'll keep littering until they dig my body out when my climate-change-deformed apartment collapses or they exile my penniless ass because I'm not even worthy of washing your dirty dishes.
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