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CHICAGO — The outbreak of coronavirus has prompted officials at the University of Illinois and Loyola University to call for students studying in Italy to return home.

This move comes as Italy reported a 50 percent increase in cases.

Loyola officials said state department travel advisors are behind the decision. Students in Italy must be home by Wednesday.

Loyola staff is helping with travel costs and deferring midterm exams for students, which take place this week. Under CDC guidelines, the students will have to stay home for 14 days of observation.

In a message, administrators said they too are saddened and disappointed regarding the situation. They ask for continued support and understanding during the evolving global health situation.

University of Illinois wants its students to leave as soon as possible.

The university told their students that they can return to their home countries or travel elsewhere.

Amid comparisons of the virus to the flu, Dr. Robert Murphy of Northwestern University told WGN the virus is far more serious.

“It’s much worse than the flu,” he said. “It’s up to 20 times more deadly than the flu.”