Coronavirus

City has published updated advice for its students and staff on the outbreak of a new coronavirus originating in Wuhan City, China.

Last updated: 06 Feb 2020 8:28am

This is an evolving situation, and we'll continue to update this page according to UK Government advice.

Published Thursday, 6th February, 2020 in University news

The World Health Organization, Public Health England (PHE) and international partner organisations are monitoring an outbreak of a new coronavirus originating in Wuhan City, China.

The UK Government has introduced advanced monitoring at airports with direct flights from China. China has also introduced port-of-exit screening so people already exhibiting symptoms are not allowed to leave the country.

There are currently a limited number of cases in the UK or of UK citizens abroad, and the patients have been transferred to specialist NHS centres, and the Chief Medical Officer has announced robust infection control measures to prevent further spread of the virus. Public Health England is not advising people who have come or returned to the UK from other parts of China to avoid contact with others.

On 25th February, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: "Those who have been to northern Italy - north of Pisa - if they have flu-like symptoms should self-isolate. If people have been to the affected areas that the Italian government have quarantined then they should self-isolate whether or not they have symptoms."

On 9th February, FCO updated their advice: "British nationals in China to leave the country if they can, to minimise their risk of exposure to the virus.” You can find the latest travel advice on the FCO China travel page.

This is an evolving situation and advice changes based on emerging information from China about the number of cases and spread of the infection from person to person. This web page will be updated regularly in accordance with changes in advice from the UK government.

We understand that students and staff may be worried about this news and ask that all members of the City community continue to support one another at this time. You can read the message from the President Professor Sir Paul Curran about the situation here.

If you have any specific concerns not covered here you can email us and your query will be directed to the most relevant person.

Advice for travellers

Based on the scientific advice of SAGE the UK Chief Medical Officers are advising anyone who has travelled to the UK from any of the following countries or regions in the last 14 days and is experiencing cough or fever or shortness of breath, to stay indoors and call NHS 111, even if symptoms are mild:

  • Mainland China
  • Thailand
  • Japan
  • Republic of Korea
  • Hong Kong
  • Taiwan
  • Singapore
  • Malaysia
  • Macau

If you have returned from these specific areas since 19th February, you should call NHS111 and stay indoors and avoid contact with other people even if you do not have symptoms:

  • Iran
  • Specific lockdown areas in Northern Italy as designated by the Government of Italy
  • Special care zones in South Korea as designated by the Government of the Republic of South Korea
  • Hubei province (returned in the past 14 days)

If you have returned from these areas since 19th February and develop symptoms, however mild, you should stay indoors at home and avoid contact with other people immediately and call NHS111. You do not need to follow this advice if you have no symptoms.

  • Northern Italy (north of Pisa and not including Pisa, Florence and Rimini),
  • Vietnam
  • Cambodia
  • Laos
  • Myanmar

These areas have been identified because of the volume of air travel from affected areas, understanding of other travel routes and number of reported cases.

Please do not let any concerns about your work or studies stop you taking this advice.

If you are a student, please contact the Student Centre for support.

If you are a member of staff, please contact your line manager for support.

Travel to China – including travel to Wuhan (Hubei Province)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to Hubei Province due to the ongoing novel coronavirus outbreak.

The FCO advise against all but essential travel to the rest of mainland China (not including Hong Kong and Macao). You can find the latest travel advice on the FCO China travel page.

For University staff, in line with FCO guidance, we advise against travel to China on business until further notice.

If you consider your trip to China to be essential, please seek approval from your Dean or Director and confirm the University travel insurance position prior to any flight, hotel booking been arranged. The University will not cover work or study related trips which are not covered by the University insurance policy.

If you are currently in China on University business, please contact Ajay Bhosle to check the University travel insurance position.

Looking after your own health

For all our students and staff, in line with the FCO’s advice, we ask you to follow these basic hygiene rules to protect your own health and that of others:

  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Maintain good personal hygiene
  • Seek medical attention if you develop problems with breathing within 14 days of visiting Wuhan, either in China, or on return to the UK (please call your GP or the student health service before you intend to visit and explain your recent travel to the city)

In addition, FCO advice for anyone in China is to:

  • Avoid visiting animal and bird markets
  • Avoid people who are ill with breathing problems
  • Follow health advice provided by the relevant Chinese authorities

We are continuing to monitor this situation carefully and will update you further should the advice change.

Further information is available at Gov.uk

Visas

As there are some travel restrictions in place, the Home Office has made the following provisions for people whose immigration status is affected by the coronavirus and are unable to return to China:

  • Chinese nationals in the UK whose visa has recently expired or is about to expire - will get an automatic extension of their visa until 31st March 2020
  • Non-Chinese, non-EEA nationals in the UK normally resident in China - contact the Home Office’s dedicated coronavirus immigration helpline and the team will be able to extend your visa to 31st March 2020 if you can demonstrate you are normally resident in China.
  • Chinese nationals in the UK whose leave was granted by Irish authorities (British Irish Visa Scheme (BIVS) - contact the Home Office’s dedicated coronavirus immigration helpline to discuss your circumstances and arrange an extension

You can find further information about visas and extensions on the Government website.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is coronavirus?

A coronavirus is a type of virus which is common across the world. Typical symptoms include fever and a cough which may lead to shortness of breath and severe breathing difficulties. Wuhan novel coronavirus is a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City, China.

Read the Government information about Wuhan novel coronavirus.

The Government information is being updated daily so please check regularly for changes.

Have there been any cases in the UK so far?

The UK government stated that there has been a limited number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK or among UK citizens abroad.

What is the current risk level in the UK?

On 10th February, the Department of Health and Social Care declared that the incidence or transmission of novel Coronavirus constitutes a serious and imminent threat to public health. The Department of Health and Social Care have confirmed that ‘These regulations, which apply in England only, do not change the risk to the public’ and that they are ‘strengthened regulations to make it easier for health professionals to do their job.’

I am due to travel to China, what should I do?

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has advised against all travel to Hubei Province, and now advise against all but essential travel to the rest of mainland China.

In line with FCO guidance, we advise against travel to China on business at this time.

In respect of cancellation cover, as long as insurers have verified that it is an Insured Journey, they will provide cover for cancellation of planned trips to Mainland China.

If you have a trip booked, our recommendation is to contact the Airline or Tour Operator two weeks before the date of scheduled departure to see what options are available for possible rearrangement.

If booked flights are cancelled by an airline, you should contact the carrier in the first instance to pursue reimbursement or alternative arrangements. This may assist with mitigating claims costs against the insurance policies you have in place.

Staff who may have travel planned to China should contact Ajay Bhosle for advice

I’m currently in Hubei province or elsewhere in China – what should I do?

The FCO advises that UK nationals in Hubei province should leave if they are able to do so, with most countries issuing very similar advice to their own nationals. The Chinese government continues to impose further restrictions on movement within China and it may become harder to leave China over the coming weeks. British nationals in Hubei province can contact the British Embassy for assistance by calling the 24-hour helpline on +86 (0) 10 8529 6600 or the FCO in London on (+44) (0)207 008 1500.

If you are currently in China on University business only, please contact Ajay Bhosle or City’s Procurement team.  You can also call RSA directly on +44 20286084100 or email: RSA@Healix.com; for support.

I am a student. What should I do about my studies if I am unable to leave China or am in self-isolation?

If you are either unable to leave China or if you have to go into self-isolation you should email the Student Centre with your name, student ID and programme of study. This will help us keep an accurate record about who is affected and to give you further guidance. You should try to keep up with your studies as far as possible using the resources available on Moodle and keep in touch with your personal tutor and course officer. If you have to miss any assessments (such as exams or practicals) you should submit an extenuating circumstances form to your School and include a copy of relevant supporting documentation, such as travel documents.

City’s Students’ Union offers support to students making extenuation claims. This support can be received via email or phone appointment. For further information visit City's Students' Union website.

I'm a School of Health Sciences student. What should I do if I'm due to go on, or currently on, placement?

If you are currently on placement, or are due to go on placement shortly, you are still required to attend. Whilst on placement, please familiarise yourself with the local guidance for coronavirus and infection control in general. If you have any concerns or questions regarding placement attendance and the impact of coronavirus, please speak to your Programme Director. Please also remember to abide by the relevant professional bodies code at all times (NMC, HCPC and GOC), in particular to maintain the privacy and confidentiality of your patients, service-users and co-workers, service-users and co-workers.

What should I do if I have concerns about friends or family in China?

If you are a student and have concerns about friends or family in China, you may wish to speak to your personal tutor or your research supervisor if you are a PhD student. You can also contact the Student Centre.

If you are a member of staff, you may wish to speak to your line manager in the first instance.

Where can I find additional advice?

We will continue to keep this webpage updated. Should there be any major changes we will inform the community directly.

Further advice and updates are also available on these sites: Public Health England, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the World Health Organisation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If you have any specific concerns not covered here you can email us and your query will be directed to the most relevant person.