As I am sure you are aware, the 2019 Novel Coronavirus situation is escalating globally. Global health authorities are concerned as this disease is spreading quickly, with thousands infected and new areas reporting cases around the world every day.
There have been no cases of 2019 Novel Coronavirus reported at KAUST or in Saudi at this time. However, KAUST is a global university with students, researchers and professionals supporting our mission all around the world. As such, the senior leadership team are taking the threat of Coronavirus seriously. To combat the spread, travel restrictions and quarantine practices have become common worldwide and are also in place at KAUST.
To support the KAUST response, I have launched a Coronavirus Taskforce, which is chaired by the KAUST Health Director, Daniel Buttigieg. The Taskforce is made up of representatives from across the University and is collaborating closely with appropriate authorities both inside and outside of KAUST to put measures in place to reduce our chances of bringing the virus into the community. I have asked them to provide a cautious and considered approach to protecting our community and to prioritize the need for appropriate measures to protect overall public health while also minimizing the impact on the community. I have full confidence in their approach.
Everyone has a part to play with preventing Coronavirus from affecting the University and the community members that support it. For some, this means practicing good hygiene, but for others this will mean not being able to travel or being put into quarantine, which can have serious impacts on work and studies, individuals and their families.
For those of you that are under travel restrictions or quarantine, I recognize this is likely causing a significant impact on your work and families. Please understand that it is important for the health of yourself, your family, your colleagues and the world that you read, understand and adhere to all instructions issued by the Coronavirus Taskforce and their designees. Failure to maintain the expectations of these instructions may result in disciplinary action by the University.
For further information, the Coronavirus Taskforce is providing regular updates at kh.kaust.edu.sa/coronavirus
Thank you for participating in keeping our community safe and well.
Tony F. Chan