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Coronavirus advice and FAQs

This page was last updated on 25 February 2020

The World Health Organization, Public Health England (PHE) and international partner organisations are monitoring an outbreak of a new coronavirus (COVID-19) originating in Wuhan City, China. This webpage will be updated regularly in accordance with changes in advice from the UK government.

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The FCO is currently advising against all travel to Hubei Province, and against all but essential travel to the rest of mainland China. If you’re in China and able to leave, you should do so. See the latest travel advice for China.

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to Daegu and Cheongdo in South Korea due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The FCO is not advising against travel to any other country/territory as a result of coronavirus risks.

Government advice on what you should do on return from certain countries/regions has changed and you will find the latest information below.

Note that this is subject to change regularly and if you are unsure, please check here for the latest information.

If you have returned from these specific areas below since February 19, you should call NHS111(if you are in Northern Ireland, call 0300 200 7885. In Scotland phone your GP or NHS 24 on 111 out of hours) 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 below since February 19th and develop symptoms, however mild, you should stay indoors at home and avoid contact with other people immediately and call NHS 111. You do not need to follow this advice if you have no symptoms.

  • Northern Italy (defined by a line above, and not including, Pisa, Florence and Rimini),
  • Vietnam
  • Cambodia
  • Laos

Based on the scientific advice, the UK Chief Medical Officers are advising anyone who has travelled to the UK from mainland China, Thailand, Japan, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macau in the last 14 days who develops symptoms of cough, fever or shortness of breath, however minor, to immediately:

  • Stay indoors and avoid contact with other people as you would with the flu.
  • Call NHS 111 or, if you are in Northern Ireland, call 0300 200 7885. In Scotland phone your GP or NHS 24 on 111 out of hours. 

The University of London is taking all appropriate measures, taking into account guidance from UK government and other agencies. 

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

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
  • British citizens should leave if they are able to do so

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

Further information from the FCO is available here:

Further information from PHE is available here:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Yes, the University of London is open and operating as normal. 

We are following all UK government and Public Health England (PHE) guidance, have robust processes in place, and we are communicating regularly with our staff and students.

Across our campus and halls of residence, we are displaying Public Health England coronavirus information and we are significantly increasing the number of hand sanitisation stations. We are reviewing our regular cleaning procedures and the products we use, making changes to ensure an appropriately high level of disinfection. Facilities staff have received further training and we will be monitoring facilities regularly to ensure soap and sanitiser dispensers are maintained.

At present there are no confirmed cases involving staff or students from the central academic and professional services departments of the University of London.

Public Health England (PHE) has confirmed that a number of patients in England have tested positive for coronavirus. If more cases are confirmed in the UK, it will be announced as soon as possible by the Chief Medical Officer of the affected country.

Based on the World Health Organization’s declaration that this is a public health emergency of international concern, 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. The risk to individuals remains low.

Based on current evidence, coronavirus presents with flu-like symptoms including a fever, a cough, or difficulty breathing. Further information from Public Health England is available here.

We are recommending all students and staff follow the Public Heath England guidance. PHE is currently advising anyone who has returned from Wuhan in the last 14 days, regardless of whether they have symptoms, to isolate themselves and call NHS 111. In Scotland phone your GP or NHS 24 on 111 out of hours. If you are in Northern Ireland, call 0300 200 7885.

We are recommending all staff and students follow FCO guidance on travel to China and the wider region.

Until further notice, no University of London staff will be travelling to China to support our transnational education programmes.

You can contact the University through the following email addresses: 

If you have a clear medical concern about yourself or someone else, call NHS 111.

No. The University of London is open and operating as normal so we advise students to attend their scheduled lectures, seminars and activities until advised otherwise.

In some countries wearing face masks is very common, it is seen as an everyday way to prevent spreading and catching illnesses. In other countries face masks are more unusual and can be seen with alarm. Wearing a face mask is an entirely personal decision and no-one should be treated differently because they decide to wear one. Public Heath England is not recommending the use of face masks but individual decisions should be respected unless the wearing of a face mask presents a health and safety concern in and of itself.

We are identifying and communicating directly with those students and staff who would need to self-isolate regardless of the state of their health.

If you are either unable to leave China or if you have to go into self-isolation you should email: (for School of Advanced Study students) 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.

If you are a student with a Tier 4 visa who is unable to leave China, or if you have to go into self-isolation, you can contact us at If your question is about the possible impact on your immigration status we will pass your email onto to the specialist welfare advisers within the University, who will respond to you directly. If you are a member of staff affected by Coronavirus and you have concerns about your immigration status, please contact Human Resources.