Returning international students from countries with lower infection rates of COVID-19 than the U.S.

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Pam Dempsey/CU-CitizenAccess

A tent and signs indicate a Covid-19 testing site at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign's Alice Campbell Alumni Center on Friday, July 31, 2020. The University is conducting free saliva tests for faculty, staff and students with results typically known within 48 hours.

Most of the international students from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s 2019-2020 academic year are from countries with lower daily Covid-19 infection rates than the United States, according to a CU-CitizenAccess analysis. 

Last spring, 9,824 international students attended the University from more than 100 countries, according to university data.  

International students returning to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus this year will be required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.  


It is not known yet how many international students are set to return, said Robin Kaler in an email, associate chancellor for public affairs at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Kaler also said the university had no way of knowing how many international students remained on campus this summer. 

The CU-CitizenAccess analysis of data of new daily cases as of August 6 from the World Health Organization and the university found that: 

  • Just 193 students came from seven countries with infection rates between 15.2 and 24 new cases per 100,000 people as of August 6, including Brazil, Bahrain, Panama, Peru, Israel, Singapore and Kuwait. The United States has an overall infection rate of 15.1 cases per 100,000 people.
  • 101 students came from Brazil, which had the highest daily infection rate of 24.2 new cases per 100,000 people.
  • More students came from China than any other country, with 5,277 students. China’s COVID-19 daily infection rate is 0.008 per 100,000 people.

Champaign-Urbana Public Health District “is working with the International Student and School Service Office to work with International Arrivals,” said Awais Vaid, director of planning and research at the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District, in a recent email. 

The university announced twice-weekly testing requirements this week for its students, faculty and staff and said that its international students needed to quarantine per Centers for Disease Control guidelines. 

“The requirement to self-quarantine applies to anyone who has traveled outside the U.S. and has nothing to do with the reason for travel or who has traveled,” the university announced on its website.

This data can be viewed by clicking here.

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