News | Friday, 31st January 2020

Coronavirus: information and advice for employees, students and visitors

Updated: 25 February

Coronavirus: information and advice
Coronavirus: information and advice

Novel coronavirus (Covid-19) is a new respiratory illness not previously seen in humans, first identified in Wuhan, China.

The virus has spread to several countries with the World Health Organization declaring the spread of the virus a public health emergency of international concern. The risk to the UK population has been assessed as moderate, with the risk to individuals low. There have been nine confirmed UK cases as of 25 February.

The wellbeing of our employees and students is our number one priority. We are in regular contact with colleagues and students in China and have implemented our Incident Response Plan to safeguard our UK community. The health advice below reflects guidance from the National Health Service (NHS) and Public Health England (PHE).

1. What is the latest advice on the coronavirus and where can I find it?

We are following travel and health guidance from the UK government: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the NHS.


The FCO currently advises against all travel to Hubei Province. If you are in this area and able to leave, you should do so.

It also advises against all but essential travel to the rest of mainland China (not including the Hong Kong SAR and Macao).

For the latest updates, please refer to the FCO website.


For full details and alerts on health information, please refer to the NHS website.

2. What are the signs/symptoms of coronavirus?

Typical symptoms of coronavirus include fever and a cough that may progress to pneumonia causing shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.

Generally, coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, such as older people, and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.

 3. What should I do if I experience any of the symptoms?

Stay indoors and avoid contact with other people, as you would with other flu viruses.

Advice on self-isolation and who to contact should you be concerned can be found on the NHS website.

Note: The UK health service is operated by the NHS (National Health Service). The NHS operates a special telephone line: 111. As above, if you have any health concerns or symptoms, telephone 111 and seek further advice. 

4. What can I do to protect myself from the virus?

Generally, follow simple steps as you would to stop other viruses spreading, including:

More information can be found on the NHS website.

Please note: while we appreciate it is a matter of personal choice, there is no stipulation from Public Health England to wear face masks at university or in the local community.

5. I have just returned from Hubei Province, what should I do?

If you have returned from Hubei Province in the last 14 days:

Please follow this advice even if you do not have symptoms of the virus. Advise your tutor or line manager if you have any concerns.

6. I have just returned from elsewhere in China and other areas in the region (including territories bordering Mainland China e.g. Hong Kong SAR and Macao), what should I do?

Unless you are feeling unwell, you should continue to work, study and socialise as usual.

The below advice applies to travellers who have returned to the UK from the following areas:

If you have returned to the UK from any of these areas in the last 14 days and develop symptoms of cough or fever or shortness of breath, you should immediately:

Please follow this advice even if your symptoms are minor.

7. I have returned from other countries where there are reported cases of coronavirus. What should I do?

If you have returned from these specific areas below since February 19, you should call NHS 111 and stay indoors and avoid contact with other people even if you do not have symptoms:

In Scotland, phone your GP or NHS 24 on 111 out of hours. If you are in Northern Ireland, call 0300 200 7885.

If you have returned from these areas below since February 19 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.

In Scotland, phone your GP or NHS 24 on 111 out of hours. If you are in Northern Ireland, call 0300 200 7885.

8. I am due to receive visitors from China/affected areas. What advice should I give them?

Visitors from outside of the UK should follow the local travel advice in their country of departure. You should also point them to the NHS website for the latest information.

9. I am currently in China and unable to return to Manchester to start my classes due to travel restrictions, what should I do?

If you are unable to return to Manchester for any reason, please contact your tutor (or line manager for staff) to let them know of your situation and ask for advice on next steps. It may be that some study/work can be undertaken remotely or that you can apply for mitigating circumstances. This will depend upon programme of study.

10. Could I be infectious before I show symptoms?

While this is possible, the advice remains that only those who have recently returned from travel to Hubei Province should avoid contact with others.

11. A member of my close family/one of my friends/flat mates is currently unwell with coronavirus‐like symptoms, what should we do? 

Encourage them to contact NHS 111 for clinical advice. You should avoid close contact, but there is no need for alarm.

12. What should I do if I encounter a student/colleague with symptoms?

Provide as much reassurance as possible without causing wider concern. Advise them to:  

13. What should I do if I hear of people who visited China being harassed by others on their return to Manchester?   

The University has a zero-tolerance approach to any reports of behaviour likely to cause harassment or intimidation. If you have any concerns you should report them to your line manager if you are a member of staff, or if you are a student report them through the student complaints platforms.

14. What if I am pregnant, or suffer from a medical condition or a disability that could make me more vulnerable to the virus?

If you are worried, you should seek advice from your GP.

15. I have a friend/colleague currently in China. What advice should I give them?

Members of the University can stay up to date by following the information on the intranet. Anyone else should follow FCO advice.

16. Does the University currently have staff or students in China?

We are in contact with the small number of staff and students in China to offer support. We are helping with revised travel and accommodation plans as required.

17.  How will I receive the most up‐to‐date information? 

The staff intranet will be updated regularly to reflect the latest information for employees and updates for students will be through the usual student communication channels. We will also regularly update colleagues who are responsible for employee or student wellbeing.   

18.   What should I do if I am planning to go to China?

Keep up to date with the latest advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

19.   How does the coronavirus affect my immigration status?

The government has provided updated immigration guidance if people are unable to return to China from the UK.


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