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While Mexico has been hit hardest by the recent outbreak of the swine flu, the epidemic is likely to have a bearing on student and staff mobility in the entire North American region. Summer schools have been cancelled, some European countries have called back their international students, and in parts of Asia, which are still under the impression of the SARS virus, individuals arriving on international flights from affected countries are required to undergo additional health screenings and possible quarantine. AMPEI (the Mexican Association for International Education), IIE (the US Institute of International Education) and CONAHEC (the Consortium for North American Higher Education Collaboration) issued a joint statement on 14 May 2009, giving a detailed account of events, actions and reactions, while underlining how important it is for academic staff, students and administrators not to generalise or to jump to conclusions.
Some of the actions in Mexico comprise:
- An extraordinary national closure from May 1 to May 5 (most businesses and production facilities were shut down during this time);
- Closure of all educational institutions from April 27 to May 5 (classes were resumed on May 7 in most parts of the country);
- Concrete measures at campus level, including thorough sanitisation of facilities, screening of visitors for possible symptoms, and the setting up of informational web spaces and 24-hour telephone hotlines for international students, among others.
AMPEI, IIE and CONAHEC said that they would continue to monitor the situation and can provide further information.