Robert Bailey, former UC Berkeley director of admissions, responds to news of new coronavirus outbreak

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Former UC Berkeley director of admissions Robert Bailey remarks on the latest news surrounding China’s human coronavirus outbreak.


Living and working in Southeast Asia for many years, and traveling to China on numerous occasions, Robert Bailey, a former UC Berkeley registrar and director of admissions, responds to news of China’s new coronavirus outbreak. Centered on the Hubei province city of Wuhan, it follows the country’s famous SARS epidemic which now took place more than 15 years ago.


“The SARS epidemic began in 2003, less than two years after I departed from Singapore to Vancouver, Canada, to accept an adjunct teaching position in the SLAIS program at the University of British Columbia,” explains Bailey. The illness, he reveals, spread to 29 countries, where 8,096 people were infected, and 774 died.


“While in Singapore for almost eight years, I served as the dean of American College, the vice president for records at Transnational, and as a senior lecturer for Temasek Polytechnic in its information studies program,” adds former UC Berkeley registrar and director of admissions Bailey.


During this time, Bailey traveled to over 30 different countries, including to China on several occasions, yet despite extensive travel in and around Southeast Asia, the former UC Berkeley registrar doesn’t recall hearing anything about Wuhan. “When in Singapore, I traveled to 33 different countries and to China several times, but even with all this time and travel in Southeast Asia, I don’t remember hearing about Wuhan, China,” he explains. 


“Now,” Bailey continues, “Wuhan is in the news worldwide; the historical city has become ground zero of the new coronavirus outbreak.” 


Robert Bailey, UC Berkeley former registrar and director of admissions, has, he says, since discovered that Wuhan is the world’s largest college town, boasting 53 universities, including Wuhan University that alone accounts for some 60,000 students. Many tourists also visit to see Wuhan University’s scenic East Lake and to enjoy the campus’ cherry blossoms in March and April, according to Bailey. “Other tourists are drawn to Wuhan’s many landmarks, such as the pagoda-like Yellow Crane Tower, the 350-year-old Guiyuan Temple, and the Hubei Provincial Museum,” he adds. 


Furthermore, Wuhan is a transportation hub, too, Robert Bailey, UC Berkeley former registrar points out. “The city’s international airport handles more than 24 million passengers annually, and is geographically located in the center of China’s airline route network,” he reveals. 


Bailey believes that Wuhan’s traditional love of exotic meats may have started the current coronavirus outbreak. “It was first discovered in a local wholesale food market,” explains the former UC Berkeley registrar. 


With a population of over 11 million people, many of whom are currently quarantined, Wuhan has, according to Bailey, in recent years attempted to transition from its reputation as a predominantly traditional place of historical importance to a center for much more high tech endeavors. “Foxconn, a key Apple supplier, has a plant there,” he reveals, “and Renault also has several plants in the area.”


With over 20 years of records and information management experience, Robert Bailey says he’ll be interested in Wuhan’s necessary switch from primarily paper to electronic records. “How does a city that large, and that old, dating back as far as 1460 BC, keep their records, and move them into 2020?” he asks, somewhat rhetorically. 


Eventually, Bailey says he’ll likely visit Wuhan because of his affiliation with Pacific Region Education Consultancy Pte Ltd in Singapore, which organizes study tours in the area. “I will, however, wait,” he adds, wrapping up, “until the medical crisis settles down.”