SIXTY Cork students have been left disappointed as the Coronavirus has led to the cancellation of a once-in-a-lifetime trip to China.
The secondary school pupils, from all over Cork, were due to travel to Shanghai University in April.
However, they have learned that the trip has been cancelled due to fears surrounding the virus, which has caused the death of 1,016 and infected 42,000 others.
Each year, UCC Confucius Institute and Shanghai University, sponsored by the Headquarters of Confucius Institute (Hanban), provides an opportunity to sixty Transition Year students to visit China and to learn its language and culture.
The 'Study in China Easter Camp Programme' is a two-week event in Shanghai, where students attend lectures and visit tourist attractions while learning about the culture and customs of the country.
The students’ flights were booked for April and their visas received and despite the outbreak, the pupils had hoped the trip would still go ahead.
However, with the spread of the disease, Shanghai University was left with no option than to regrettably inform students that the programme was cancelled.
Reacting to the news, one student said: “ I was really looking forward to this incredible opportunity and am devastated that it is cancelled.
"However, realising that our health and wellbeing is paramount, we all have so much sympathy for everyone affected by this horrific event.”
Catherine (Xiaohong) Xu, from UCC’s Confucius Institute, said; “I sincerely apologise to the students and teachers who, no doubt, were looking forward to this wonderful experience of a lifetime. Hopefully they will get another opportunity to visit this amazing country.”
The death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in mainland China has passed 1,000 people, health authorities announced yesterday.
The daily number of deaths from the virus has also topped 100 for the first time as the contagion continues to spread.
Though more offices and stores in China have reopened after the extended Lunar New Year break, many people appear to be staying at home.
Public health authorities are watching closely to see whether workers' returning to cities and business resuming worsens the spread of the virus.
Another 108 deaths were reported over the previous 24 hours, the National Health Commission said in a daily update.