USC recalls students from South Korea and Italy because of coronavirus

A man with a mask plays with pigeons in the Piazza del Duomo in Milan on Monday.
(AFP-Getty Images)

Any USC students studying abroad in South Korea or parts of Italy affected by the coronavirus outbreak are required to return home, university officials announced Tuesday evening.

“The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a Level 3 travel advisory for South Korea, which advises against all non-essential travel,” USC officials said in an email obtained by The Times. “As a result, we are requiring students to leave ... and we are working actively with them to make arrangements to travel back to USC.”

Students in the Veneto and Lombardy regions of Italy — which have seen a sudden surge in infections — are also required to return, while those studying elsewhere in the country are encouraged to stay in close contact with their program administrators in case the situation changes.


“Your safety, well-being, and ability to continue your studies and other activities remain the highest priorities for the entire leadership of USC,” the administrators said in the email, sent at 5:19 p.m.

This week, CDC leaders advised communities to take precautions in the event that coronavirus starts spreading in the United States, which they said was inevitable.

More than 2,700 people have died from the virus, the majority in mainland China. In the United States, there have been 57 confirmed cases; 40 of those are repatriated individuals from the Diamond Princess cruise ship. There are 15 confirmed cases in California.

Times staff writers Colleen Shalby and Alex Wigglesworth contributed to this report.