As the Coronavirus spreads in Italy, University of Maine officials have decided to suspend the study abroad program there.

After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention increased the travel advisory for Italy to a level 3, U-Maine's risk management team decided to restrict travel to Italy. This includes bringing students home who are already studying there.

While no University students have shown symptoms of the virus, WABI-TV reports nearly 1,700 cases have been diagnosed in the country, with more than 30 deaths. University officials say they have reached out to parents of the students currently in Italy, to work with them in getting their loved ones home. University travel is also currently prohibited to the countries of China, South Korea, and Iran, as well as to Italy.

The Maine CDC is advising residents to take precautions against the virus but, they say those precautions do not include wearing a surgical mask all the time. Instead, they say living a healthy lifestyle is the best defense, like eating right, getting plenty of sleep, and practicing good hygiene, including regular hand washing. Health officials say residents should use the same precautions they use against catching a cold.

To date, there are no cases of Coronavirus in Maine. Dr. Nirav Shah, Executive Director of the Maine CDC says, at this point, the bigger threat to Mainers is influenza.

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