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Joint statement on coronavirus

20 Feb 2020

Statement from Greater Manchester Higher Education Institutions and Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China

This advice is correct at the time of publication of this news article.  For the latest information, please check Public Health England and the University’s coronavirus website.

The city of Manchester has a long standing relationship with Wuhan via its sister-city relationship and has developed deeper connections throughout China over the last 30 years. Since 1986, we have been working in partnership on a number of strategic initiatives including trade, cultural and educational partnerships.  

As Wuhan and other cities in China battle the coronavirus outbreak our thoughts go to our colleagues and friends across universities, government and businesses in China.  We stand ready to support our colleagues as they face down the threat of coronavirus, just as we have stood in celebration with them in more joyful times such as welcoming university staff and students from Hubei to work on collaborative research or to study with us or participating in events to mark the 30th anniversary of our sister-city relationship. 

As institutions of learning, we use empirical evidence to inform our world class research and in our teaching we seek to develop the critical thinking skills of our students. Our response to the coronavirus outbreak will be underpinned by these core values, acting on available evidence to develop a proportionate response to any cases of coronavirus in our universities and ensuring our students act in a way which respects difference and recognises our common humanity.  As universities with a wide and diverse student and staff populations from across the globe, there is no place in our communities for prejudice and we are committed to ensuring that all students are treated equally. At this difficult time, it is essential that we pull together as one community, the universities in Manchester will work in partnership with the Consulate General to ensure that students from China continue to feel welcome in the city and that any disruption to their studies is minimised.

The 10,000 Chinese students and scholars population in Manchester constitutes the biggest overseas student group in North England. The Chinese Consulate General will work closely with the universities in Manchester and the local health department to support everyone with a more inclusive and united mentality, maintain rationality and calmness. We seek to support each other through this difficult time and to continue to work in partnership and friendship for another 30 years.    

Professor George Holmes, Vice-Chancellor, the University of Bolton

Professor Helen Marshall, Vice-Chancellor, the University of Salford

Professor Linda Merrick, Principal, the Royal Northern College of Music

Professor Malcolm Press, Vice-Chancellor, Manchester Metropolitan University

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor, The University of Manchester

Mr Zheng Xiyuan, Consul-General of the People’s Republic of China in Manchester