AUSTIN, Texas - The University of Texas at Austin has suspended undergraduate travel to china amid fears of the coronavirus outbreak. Over six-thousand cases have been confirmed, and out of an abundance of caution, the university has added china to the UT restricted regions list.
UT Dell Medical School Assistant Professor Dr. John Bedolla said there at least five cases of the respiratory virus in the U.S.
"It has risen very fast so there's natural worry that it might spread to the United States so far that spread has been very minimal and at this point, we are very safe in the United States," said Dr. Bedolla. "The fear of the epidemic is sometimes worse than the epidemic."
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Identified in Wuhan, China, the respiratory virus was contracted by animals and is spreading from person to person.
On Wednesday, 201 Americans evacuated from Wuhan and landed in Southern California. The passengers will remain at an air force base until they are screened by health officials.
Other countries are also evacuating their citizens and canceling flights to and from China.
As for Texas, after suspected cases on Texas A&M's campus and Baylor University, the University of Texas at Austin sent a message to students announcing travel restrictions to China. Graduate, faculty and staff travel will be reviewed by a committee. The University states any approved travel will require an in-country safety plan.
RELATED: UT Austin restricts travel to China amid coronavirus outbreak
Although the rise in cases is concerning, the World Health Organization will decide Thursday whether to declare the coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency.
Dr. Bedolla said, however, the flu should be of greater concern in the U.S. "If you compare this to the flu, the flu still kills about 8,000 people in the United States,” said Bedolla. "While the coronavirus is important we always have to remember the regular flu that we see every season, getting vaccinated is the best prevention."