The Coronavirus has been declared a global health emergency by World Health Organisation (WHO).*
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to Hubei Province and all but essential travel to the rest of mainland China (not including Hong Kong and Macao).2
The Chinese government continue to impose further restrictions on movement within China in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
The current risk to the UK population has been assessed as “low” by the Chief Medical Officer.
As it is winter, most respiratory illnesses in the UK are due to the common cold and other viruses, including influenza.
The UK is well prepared to deal with any cases of coronavirus that arise. We are one of the first countries in the world to have developed an accurate test for coronavirus, and we have the ability to scale up this test should the virus be detected in the UK.
The NHS has expert teams in every ambulance service, and specialist hospital units with highly trained staff and equipment ready to receive and care for patients with any highly infectious disease, including coronavirus. Specific guidance on handling the Wuhan coronavirus has been given to NHS staff.
As of Friday 31st January, two cases have been confirmed in the UK**
Current evidence is that most cases overseas appear to be mild.
- Difficulty breathing
- Sore throat
However, symptoms may not become apparent until up to 14 days after exposure. Public Health England are tracing people who have returned from Wuhan within the last 14 days.
Action for people who have travelled to Wuhan4
Government advice for anyone who has been to Wuhan in the last 14 days is as follows:
- Anyone who has returned from Wuhan within the last 14 days should isolate themselves, stay indoors and avoid contact with other people – and contact NHS 111 (or contact their GP in Northern Ireland).
- If you develop respiratory symptoms within 14 days of travel from the area, and are now in the UK, call NHS 111 (or your GP in Northern Ireland) and inform them of your symptoms and of your recent travel to the city.
- Do not leave home until you have been given advice by a clinician.
Advice for Schools and Academies
Gallagher urges our clients to communicate the above government advice to staff, pupils, parents and carers, and to ask them to follow it as required.
It should be remembered that most respiratory illnesses are likely to be the common cold or, in extreme cases, influenza, for which existing health guidance should continue to be followed.
Any staff or pupils who display symptoms should be excluded from the school until they have consulted a clinician (i.e. by calling NHS 111 or calling their GP in Northern Ireland). This advice would be the same for seasonal influenza.
Guidance in respect of regular handwashing and the “Catch It, Bin It, Kill It” message should be reinforced.
Sources of Further Guidance
NHS 111 (or your GP in Northern Ireland) – Isolate yourself and call them if you are suffering symptoms or have returned from Wuhan within the last 14 days.
The Public Health England guide entitled “Investigation and management of outbreaks of influenza-like illness in schools”:
Public Health England’s website:
The sole purpose of this bulletin is to provide guidance on the issues covered. This article is not intended to give legal advice, and, accordingly, it should not be relied upon. It should not be regarded as a comprehensive statement of the law and/or market practice in this area. We make no claims as to the completeness or accuracy of the information contained herein or in the links which were live at the date of publication. You should not act upon (or should refrain from acting upon) information in this publication without first seeking specific legal and/or specialist advice. Arthur J. Gallagher Insurance Brokers Limited accepts no liability for any inaccuracy, omission or mistake in this publication, nor will we be responsible for any loss which may be suffered as a result of any person relying on the information contained herein.
- * https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-51318246
- ** https://www.gov.uk/government/news/cmo-confirms-cases-of-coronavirus-in-england