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University of Bath

Coronavirus information for staff

Updated 25 February 2020: Information and advice

National advice and guidance

Visit .gov.uk for information on the outbreak of coronavirus in China, including the current situation in the UK and information about the virus and its symptoms.

NHS information on coronavirus has advice for travellers and information on the virus and its symptoms.

For travel advice, you can visit the latest UK Government travel advice related to coronavirus and individual pages for travel advice to specific countries or territories.

Information and guidance

On 13 February, we confirmed that the coronavirus test result that we had been expecting had come back negative. Obviously, we are very pleased for the individual concerned and we are very grateful to them for letting us know the outcome of their test.

We are acutely aware of the level of concern about the risks from coronavirus and we are liaising with Public Health England (PHE) and the NHS, and closely following official advice.

The University is committed to informing our community if there are any positive cases in the future, in partnership with the relevant authorities. In making this commitment, we are aware of the enormous workload for the NHS and PHE in processing these tests. We would ask our community to note that some test results are not coming back within the anticipated 72 hours and the University does not have any control over this.

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.

There are no positive tests for coronavirus for any member of our community.

The health and safety of our staff, students, visitors and the wider community is our top priority.

Anyone concerned about their health in relation to coronavirus should follow PHE guidance and contact NHS 111 if the guidance advises them to do so.

The information below aims to offer you advice and guidance and is based on the current guidance issued by Public Health England (PHE).

The situation is subject to change and we are monitoring the guidance regularly to ensure that our arrangements remain consistent with expert advice. If this guidance changes then we will update our advice accordingly.

The University has a management team which is closely monitoring this situation and official advice. If you have any specific questions that are not answered below, please email Nicky Kemp, Director of Policy & Planning or call 01225 386600.

On 17 February the UK Government published new immigration guidance for individuals in the UK who are unable to return to China.

Please also see the Coronavirus information for students.

University advice and guidance

What are the symptoms?

Based on current evidence, novel coronavirus (2019-nCov) presents with flu-like symptoms including a fever, a cough, or difficulty breathing. The current evidence is that most cases appear to be mild.

What is the risk?

PHE advice has increased the national risk from low to moderate but the risk to individuals remains low. There is a greater risk of complications in people who have a pre-existing long-term health condition.

What steps can I take to protect myself?

The advice from PHE is that people should continue with their normal activities. PHE also reminds people to follow good hand hygiene and standard infection control guidelines“Catch it, Bin it, Kill it”.

If you have any immediate health concerns, please contact NHS 111.

As a member of staff, you can speak with your HR contact or counselling support is available from the Staff Counselling Service.

What do I do if I’ve travelled from Wuhan or Hubei Province?

If you have travelled from Wuhan or Hubei Province to the UK in the last 14 days you should immediately:

  • stay indoors and avoid contact with other people as you would with the flu

  • call NHS 111 to inform them of your recent travel to the area.

Please follow this advice even if you do not have symptoms of the virus.

What do I do if I’ve travelled from elsewhere in China or other specified areas and have developed a cough, fever or shortness of breath?

If you have travelled from Mainland China, Thailand, Japan, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macau to the UK in the last 14 days and develop symptoms of cough, fever or shortness of breath, even if mild, you should immediately:

  • stay indoors and avoid contact with other people as you would with the flu

  • call NHS 111 to inform them of your recent travel to the country

What should I do if I have symptoms but have not travelled to China or the other specified areas or been in contact with anyone who has?

You should follow the normal guidance for treating coughs, colds and flu. This includes:

  • staying away from work until your symptoms have eased

  • getting plenty of rest and sleep

  • keeping warm

  • taking paracetamol or ibuprofen to lower your temperature and treat aches and pains

  • drinking plenty of water to avoid dehydration

If you are pregnant, have a long-term underlying health condition or a weakened immune system then you should contact the NHS non-emergency helpline 111 for advice. You should also contact this number if your symptoms do not improve after seven days.

Is the University open as normal?

The University is open as normal. Teaching, research, work and all other activities are running as usual.

I suffer from a long-term underlying health condition. Should I stay away from work?

The current advice from PHE is that this should not be necessary. However, we understand that people may be concerned, and you may want to discuss work arrangements with your line manager. You can also ask your HR contact for advice.

Should I be working remotely?

This should not be necessary due to the PHE advice. However, if there are particular circumstances that might require you to work remotely these should be discussed with your line manager.

Should I wear a face mask?

The advice we have is that there is little evidence to indicate that wearing a face mask provides any additional effective protection. However, it is a personal choice and we would encourage all members of our community to be supportive of the choices people make in this regard.

I am concerned about a student, how can I help them?

If you are concerned about the welfare of any student, please ring Student Services for guidance using the Staff Advice line 01225 384321. Students can access Wellbeing Support by calling 01225 383838 or emailing studentservices@bath.ac.uk. Please do not ask them to visit, we will arrange for support to be provided to them. Help is also available from the SU’s Advice and Support Centre.

If you require first aid assistance, please contact Security on:

  • 666 (from an internal landline)

  • 01225 383999 from a mobile

I’m arranging interviews and one of the candidates is located in China, what should I do?

Follow the Recruitment and Selection Code of Practice whereby shortlisted candidates residing outside the UK are normally interviewed via telephone or video/Skype.

What action is the University taking?

We have followed all PHE advice and guidance and are communicating regularly with our staff and students.

The University’s Emergency Management Team is meeting daily to ensure that we have appropriate procedures and arrangements in place. This group is made up of key leads from across the University and the students’ union and is in regular contact with PHE, the NHS and key officers in the local authority to ensure that our approach is consistent with expert advice.

We have reviewed cleaning arrangements, are using anti-viral products for hard surfaces, ensuring soap dispensers are well stocked and reminding people to observe good hand hygiene.

We are monitoring the situation closely and we continue to provide as much advice, care and support as we can to our University community.

How can I help?

Please be mindful that colleagues and students from China and specified areas may be particularly concerned about family and friends at home and about potential discrimination here in the UK. As an inclusive international community, we’d ask all members of our community to continue to be supportive of one another at this time.

Travel

I am due to travel to China for work reasons, should I go?

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is advising all UK nationals to leave China if they can. It is also advising against all but essential travel to mainland China and continues to advise against all travel to Hubei Province.

Public Health England has also issued health advice regarding travel to China.

In light of this, we have suspended travel on University business to mainland China as a precaution. If you are travelling to one of the specified areas listed by PHE, we would ask you to carefully consider whether your trip is essential. Please see the guidance on authorisation for international travel and contact Nicky Kemp, the Acting University Secretary. Although it may currently be possible to travel, restrictions could be imposed at any time and we encourage you to avoid the risk of becoming stuck in a quarantined area.

My work/visit visa is due to expire and I need to return to China, what do I do?

The UK Government has said that most people in the UK whose immigration status is affected by the coronavirus outbreak will get an automatic extension of their visa until 31 March 2020.

You should read the GOV.UK guidance to find out if your visa will be automatically extended or whether you need to contact the Coronavirus Immigration Helpline (0800 678 1767, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, calls are free of charge) or CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk.

Are there any other overseas destinations that I should avoid?

The FCO has not currently identified any other areas where travel should be avoided due to coronavirus. There are other areas where the FCO advises against travel for other reasons. If you are travelling to any of these destinations then the University’s general guidance on such travel should be followed.