VisitBritain have published a further update on the Coronavirus and has provided reassurance messaging for visitors, as follows:
Coronavirus – Situation Update correct as at 16.30 14 February 2020.
- The World Health Organisation has confirmed the official name for the novel coronavirus as COVID-19.
- Public Health England have publish a blog around contact tracing explaining what it is and how it is being used to tackle the spread of COVID-19.
- The Business Events Partnership has reported that an individual who has been identified to have COVID-19 attended a conference at QEII conference centre last week. QEII are working closely with Public Health England and the event organisers to trace the delegates and give them advice on the situation as a precaution. The QEII Centre remains fully open and events will continue to take place as normal. Staff and suppliers have been briefed on the situation and actions to take if they have any concerns about their health. A media plan has also been put in place to ensure that everyone has a clear view of the current evolving situation.
- As of 14 February, a total of 2,964 people have been tested in the UK, of which 2,955 were confirmed negative and 9 positive.
- Globally as of 14 February there are 64,437 cases of which 63,851 are in China.
- The fatalities to date are 1,383 (1,380 of these are within China, 1 in the Philippines, 1 in Hong Kong and 1 in Japan).
- The China Britain Business Council has shared a regional response update where they outline how local and provincial governments in China are supporting local and foreign businesses, the most common measures include:
- Preferential tax and social security policies, with filing deadlines deferred or suspended
- Direct financial support for heavily affected businesses
- Rent reductions or suspension
- Preferential loan and financing support
- Reduced utility fees
- Bespoke legal and administrative aid
- Employment support and special labour regulations regarding quarantined employees
Travel related updates
- The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) issued a statement on 13 February outlining enhanced policies due to the ongoing COVID-19, the enhanced measures include:
- CLIA Members are to deny boarding to all persons who have travelled from, visited or transited via airports in China, including Hong Kong and Macau, within 14 days before embarkation.
- CLIA Members are to deny boarding to all persons who, within 14 days before embarkation, have had close contact with, or helped care for, anyone suspected or diagnosed as having COVID-19, or who is currently subject to health monitoring for possible exposure to COVID-19.
- CLIA Members are to conduct pre-boarding screening necessary to effectuate these prevention measures. Enhanced screening and initial medical support are to be provided, as needed, to any persons exhibiting symptoms of suspected COVID-19.
Coronavirus – Situation Update correct as at 14.30 13 February 2020.
- An additional case of coronavirus was announced in the UK overnight, bringing the confirmed cases in the UK to nine.
- The patients are receiving specialist NHS care and the NHS are using tried and tested infection control procedures to prevent further spread of the virus.
- As of 13 February, a total of 2,521 UK tests have been concluded, of which 2,512 were confirmed negative and 9 positive.
- Globally as of 13 February there are 60,373 cases of which 59,804 are in China.
- In a statement on 12 February 2020 GSMA announced the cancellation of Mobile World Congress due to take place in Barcelona 24-27 February, stating the coronavirus outbreak, travel concerns and other circumstances as the reason.
Coronavirus - Situation Update - correct as at 15.00 4 February 2020
- As of 4 February there have been two confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK, a total of 416 UK tests have concluded, of which 414 were confirmed negative and 2 positives.
- Globally as of 4 February there are 20,632 cases of which 20,438 are in China, there are less than 200 outside of China in 27 countries.
- The fatalities to date are 426 (425 of these are within China and 1 in the Philippines).
- The Chinese government continues to impose further restrictions on movement within China, these restrictions include the closure of some provincial highways and inter-city high speed rail, tight control on entry and exit to villages and townships across the country, and restrictions on movement within some cities and municipalities including Chongqing.
- As a result of new advice from the Beijing Centre for Disease Control, anyone returning to their city of work in China from outside that province is now required to self-quarantine for 14 days, a change from the previous policy of 7 days.
Outbound travel advice from FCO
- The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has updated their advice on 4 February to ‘if you’re in China and able to leave, you should do so. The elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions may be at heightened risk.’
- This is further to their advice against all travel to Hubei Province due to the ongoing novel coronavirus outbreak. The FCO also advise against all but essential travel to the rest of mainland China (not including Hong Kong and Macao).
- The British Consulates-General in Wuhan and Chongqing are currently closed
Situation Update (as of 24 January 2020)
- To date, no British nationals have been identified with the virus, and the risk to the UK population has been assessed as low.
- As of 23 January, Chinese authorities have suspended flights, trains, buses, subways and ferries in and out of Wuhan.
- There is currently no screening of flights coming from elsewhere in China but this may be expanded to other Chinese departure points if necessary
Reassurance Messaging for Visitors
- Visitors can be reassured that the UK Government is closely monitoring the situation, with the risk to the UK population assessed as low. The UK’s public health measures are world-leading and it is always prepared for new diseases, with its approach kept under continuous review.
- The UK Government has put in place precautionary measures with enhanced monitoring on direct flights from Wuhan in China to the UK. However, Chinese authorities have now stopped all flights to and from Wuhan. The precautionary measures will be expanded to other Chinese departure points if necessary. Leaflets and information are also being made available across all UK airports, advising travellers from China on what to do if they feel unwell.
- This is a fast moving situation and the best source of information for any visitors with individual questions or concerns is Public Health England. Visitors can keep up to date with the latest advice from the Government website: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-and-avian-flu-advice-for-travel-to-china
Outbound travel to China from the UK
On 23 January the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) updated its travel advice for travellers to China, advising against all but essential travel to Wuhan. It also advised that travel restrictions may be in place in other nearby cities. Please keep up-to-date on the FCO’s travel advice website here: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/china