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Emergency Messages

Novel Coronavirus in China


Northwestern updates community on Coronavirus outbreak.

Hong Kong-Mainland China Travel Advice


The U.S. DOS Overseas Security Advisory Council has released a report of detention and investigation of OSAC constituents attempting to cross from Hong Kong to mainland China. Travelers are encouraged to be mindful of increased scrutiny when traveling from Hong Kong to China, and to be sure not to have any materials supporting the protests on their phones or their person.  China has also voided visas to the mainland for some travelers who were also traveling to Taiwan.

After months of protests, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) and the University of Hong Kong (HKU) suspended in-person classes and allowed students to finish their courses remotely. All Northwestern exchange students have now departed Hong Kong.Northwestern continues to closely monitor the situation. While Northwestern has not formally canceled its spring 2020 exchange programs with Hong Kong partner universities, but students are preferring alternative options in other countries.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact your study abroad advisor or the Office of Global Safety and Security.

Protests Move to Hong Kong Campuses


Since the death of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) student, Chow Tsz-Lok, on Friday November 8th, the security environment in Hong Kong has significantly deteriorated and the long-term outlook is uncertain. Prior to this event, most demonstrations in Hong Kong were avoidable and mainly away from university campuses. Demonstration have now moved onto some campuses and for the first time this fall, universities have canceled classes. With this escalation of violence and future uncertainty, we encourage all Northwestern students to depart Hong Kong.

Due to the impact sustained protest activities have had on their campus, HKUST and the University of Hong Kong (HKU) have moved all instruction online/assessment and encouraged international students to leave Hong Kong.    

Northwestern continues to closely monitor the situation. While Northwestern has not formally canceled its spring 2020 exchange programs with Hong Kong partner universities, many universities are considering this option.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact your study abroad advisor or the Office of Global Safety and Security.

Guidance on University Travel to Cuba


Travel to Cuba continues to become increasingly complicated and governed by the U. S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).  Due to OFAC restrictions, travel to Cuba is limited.  Only persons whose travel falls into certain categories may be authorized to spend money on travel to Cuba.  The Office of Export Controls Compliance has created Guidance on University-Authorized Travel to Cuba  to outline specific requirements.  At this time, credit-bearing travel remains permissible, but graduate students and employees should work with Northwestern's Office for Export Controls Compliance to determine whether or not their planned university-sponsored non-credit travel to Cuba can proceed. Undergraduates should contact OGSS in the very early stages of travel planning for non-credit travel.

Hong Kong Update


Hong Kong (HK) continues to experience a series of protests that began in June 2019 sparked by ongoing concerns over the extradition bill.  While the extradition bill was formally withdrawn this week, demonstrations have continued over other public demands.  Protests have been generally peaceful, though some have turned violent and disrupted transportation across Hong Kong. 

Universities continue to operate in this new normal. To help students adjust, some have arranged shuttles between campuses or airport pick-ups.  Others are offering real time online classes for students who have safety concerns.  Universities report that students are going about their daily work and studies continue as normal.  Generally, campus locations are not protest areas.

Protests have disrupted public transportation across Hong Kong, especially the HK MTR or Mass Transit Railway.  MTR stations may close, or if open, stop running earlier than expected.

 Travelers to HK should pay close attention to the U.S. Department of State HK Alerts and Messages for demonstration updates. Other recommendations include:

  1. Avoid demonstrations and large gatherings as a standard precaution
  2. Avoid wearing white or black t-shirts
  3. Closely monitor local news to stay abreast of planned protests
  4. Expect heightened security and traffic congestion during demonstrations and adhere to all directives issued by law enforcement personnel and the local authorities
  5. Assess transportation arrangements carefully; most demonstrations occur on the weekends and nighttime (return home) transportation options may be limited
  6. Register with the U.S. Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program or STEP to receive notifications from the local US Embassy or Consulate
  7. For students, carry your university’s 24-hr campus emergency hotline; do not leave home without this number.  Hong Kong emergency services (ambulance, fire, police): 999 (when dialing locally)
  8. If crossing into Mainland China, avoid carrying (on person or devices) any materials that may be construed as supporting the demonstrations.

Northwestern students or employees planning university-related travel to Hong Kong are encouraged to contact the Office of Global Safety and Security for updated information and to discuss trip itineraries.