Advice for Workshop Organizers, Guests and Visitors to OIST

Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University looks forward to welcoming you to our campus and conference facilities. 

Since the new coronavirus (COVID-19) was first reported in Wuhan we have been providing regular public health information to our faculty, staff and students. We have also been issuing regular reminders – repeated below – of the measures people can take to limit the spread of infection. 

We recognize that the extent and impact of COVID-19 in the period leading up to your conference or visit cannot easily be predicted. We understand that you may feel unease about traveling to OIST. Please do not hesitate to let us know about any concerns you have, or if you would prefer not to travel.

We hope the information provided here will help to inform and reassure you.

All travel to, from and via China by members of OIST has been halted until further notice, but OIST faculty, staff and students continue to travel to events and business engagements at home and overseas. Major international hub airports in Japan (Narita, Haneda, Nagoya Centrair and Osaka Kansai), Taipei Taoyuan and Hong Kong International are connecting Okinawa with the wider world. There are additional checks and quarantine protocols at many international airports to help minimize the spread of infection.

We do recommend that you consult travel advice issued by your own government in advance of your trip to OIST, especially in relation to health and any quarantine policies for those returning from overseas.

The Japanese government this week updated its own public advice on coronavirus (COVID-19). It requires people in the following categories to refer themselves to Public Health Centers:

  • Those who have symptoms of a cold, or a fever of 37.5 degrees or above, for more than 4 days.
  • Those who need to keep taking medication such as aspirin, ibuprofen or paracetamol (acetaminophen), or who have strong fatigue and/or respiratory problems.
  • Pregnant woman, the elderly, people with diabetes, or those who have suffered from heart failure, respiratory disease, who use dialysis, immunosuppressants and anticancer drugs, are at increased risk. They are required to seek consultation if symptoms persist for 2 days or more.

Proper hand washing, use of disinfectant gels and wipes, and covering your mouth and nose with a handkerchief, cloth or sleeve when coughing, all helps to contain the spread of viruses. Many people opt to wear a mask when in public spaces. The Government of Japan has asked people – if they have cold symptoms such as fever or a cough – to refrain from going out to schools or workplaces, and to measure body temperature daily if symptoms persist.

At OIST we have been taking additional precautionary measures to ensure heightened levels of disinfection on campus. The on-site OIST Clinic provides expert advice and medical care, and we have identified appropriate quarantine resources in the event that they are needed by those visiting us, should they become unwell.  

Within OIST we have reassured our event organizers that they will be supported if a decision to cancel an event is taken due to a change in circumstances, even if this is only a matter of days in advance of the conference or workshop. 

We will also do all we can to keep you closely informed – but hope very much that such steps will not be necessary, and look forward to hosting you here in Okinawa.