University of Chester warns students thinking of heading home for Chinese New Year they face quarantine on their return

The University of Chester has warned students thinking of heading home for the Chinese New Year that they would face being quarantined on their return.

Universities across the UK say they are monitoring the coronavirus outbreak.

The University of Chester said it has notified its students currently in the UK that if they return to China for Chinese New Year they will not be readmitted without a suitable quarantine period.

Universities have followed Foreign Office advice warning people not to travel to the region affected.

Vice-chancellors' group Universities UK said: "Ensuring the safety and welfare of their students is a top priority for universities.

"UK universities have been monitoring the coronavirus situation as it unfolds and universities with students in affected areas are working to identify appropriate actions.

"Universities will continue to follow the latest FCO advice and to monitor the situation, which is evolving rapidly."

The number of Chinese students at UK universities has soared in recent years, and they are of increasing importance to the nation's higher education system.

In 2018/19, China sent more students to study at UK institutions than any other overseas country, according to data published earlier this month by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (Hesa).

Overall, a third of all international students, from countries outside the EU, are now from the Asian nation.

A number of UK institutions now have close links with China and its universities.

Both Nottingham University and Liverpool University have set up campuses in the country, while Birmingham University now accepts the Chinese national college entrance exam, known as Gaokao, for top Chinese students who want to join its undergraduate courses.

The University of Chester has a China Centre based on its campus to aid the growth of trade and education between the UK and China.

A cultural and economic exchange forum for people and organisations to learn more about potential business growth in China is planned for next week.

The university's website says the event will include Chinese delegations and current partners of the institution.