Statement - Friday 31 January 2020

The government’s Chief Medical Officer has now advised that anyone returning from wider mainland China, if they have any symptoms, should self-isolate and phone NHS 111. This is a change from previous advice.

Yesterday, the World Health Organization declared coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern and following this the UK Chief Medical Officers have raised the risk to the public from low to moderate. This permits the government to plan for all eventualities.

While there are now a small number of positive cases in the UK, the government’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty said:

“The NHS is extremely well-prepared and used to managing infections and we are already working rapidly to identify any contacts the patients had, to prevent further spread.

We have been preparing for UK cases of novel coronavirus and we have robust infection control measures in place to respond immediately. We are continuing to work closely with the World Health Organization and the international community as the outbreak in China develops to ensure we are ready for all eventualities.”

We have put posters up around campus from Public Health England (example below) and would recommend that staff and students on campus maintain good hand hygiene to prevent any infections potentially spreading (as you would for any other illness such as the common cold and flu etc.).

Public Health England poster about Wuhan Novel Coronavirus, with guidance and information about symptoms.Read infographic text

We have also heard from our partner institutions in China who have advised that Chinese Universities are closed for the forseeable future.

The previous advice below remains current. Please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions for specific queries.


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