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Health and Wellbeing

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

By Adrian 25 Feb 2020


We will be migrating our information and advice about Coronavirus (COVID-19) to the main University of London website during the week of 24th February. Please bookmark the following page and check back regularly for updates:

https://london.ac.uk/coronavirus-advice-and-faqs


There is currently an outbreak of a new type of Coronavirus. You might have seen it referred to as Wuhan novel Coronavirus, WN-CoV, or 2019-nCoV, although the virus has now been officially named SARS-CoV-2, and the illness that the virus causes is called COVID-19.

Most cases of the disease have been mild, with no serious consequences; but the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions are at greater risk.

The outbreak began in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, and the majority of cases so far have been in China. There has been only a small number of cases in the UK.

We are closely monitoring advice from Public Health England, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the World Health Organisation, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The University of London response will continue to be guided by official UK public health advice.

The symptoms of COVID-19 are:

  • fever
  • cough
  • difficulty breathing
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Preventing the spread of infection

If you have been in contact with a person who has Coronavirus

If you have lived with or had close contact (within 2 metres for 15 minutes of more) with a confirmed case of COVID-19, contact NHS 111 for advice as soon as possible.

If you have been travelling within the last 14 days

If you have returned Iran, specific lockdown areas in northern Italy, or special care zones in South Korea since 19 February -- or -- if you have travellled from or through Hubei province (including Wuhan) within 14 days, please follow the advice below even if you do not have symptoms of the virus.

  • Follow the home isolation advice sheet from Public Health England.
  • Stay indoors and avoid contact with other people as you would with other flu viruses.
  • Do not go to college / university, and do not use common rooms / shared dining facilities in your accommodation.
  • Avoid hosting any guests (day or overnight), so that you don't put the health of your friends at risk.
  • Call NHS 111 to inform them of your recent travel to the city.
  • If you live in our intercollegiate halls let us know at residential.life@london.ac.uk.

If you have travellled from or through any other part of China, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, or Thailand, within the last 14 days, -- or -- if you have returned from northern Italy (defined by a line above, and not including, Pisa, Florence and Rimini), Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, or Myanmar since 19 February:

If you are well, you do not need to avoid contact with other people.

If you become unwell with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing:

  • Follow the home isolation advice sheet from Public Health England.
  • Stay indoors and avoid contact with other people as you would with other flu viruses.
  • Do not go to college / university, and do not use common rooms / shared dining facilities in your accommodation.
  • Avoid hosting any guests (day or overnight), so that you don't put the health of your friends at risk.
  • Call NHS 111 immediately in order for you to be assessed by an appropriate specialist in hospital, as quickly as possible.
  • If you live in our intercollegiate halls let us know at residential.life@london.ac.uk.

Keeping yourself safe

No special precautions recommended for the general public. However, as a reminder, there are some simple, everyday preventive actions you can take to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close or prolonged contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick. In halls, let us know if you are unwell.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

These are every day habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses.

The NHS has published advice for how to stay well in the winter and how to wash your hands effectively.

If you are currently travelling, or plan to travel soon

If you are currently outside the UK, or if you plan to travel outside the UK in the near future, check regularly for updates from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and TravelHealthPro for news and guidance.

Supporting affected students

We are proud to be the UK university of choice for very many international students. So we recognise that some members of our University community will be worried about family and friends who might be in areas where COVID-19 has had the greatest impact.

We also know from media reports that some people who are ethnically east Asian in appearance have been facing wholly unnecessary and inappropriate hostile reactions in public places.Within the University, this kind of behaviour may be grounds for a complaint of harassment or discrimination.

We ask that students and staff support their fellow friends and colleagues in solidarity with the whole of the international higher education community.

In our halls of residence, if you are worried about family and friends, or if you are concerned about inappropriate reactions from others, please speak in confidence to your Hall Warden or a Resident Advisor (RA).

For more general support, you can contact your institution’s wellbeing support services, or phone UKCISA’s Student Advice Line on + 44 20 7788 9214 (1–4pm UK time, Monday–Friday).

Adrian is a medical doctor and a Member of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine; Student Health & Wellbeing Manager at the University of London; and Warden of Connaught Hall. He is a Mental Health First Aid instructor and a trainer for Student Minds. Adrian is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine; a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA); a Member of the Association of University Administrators; and an Associate Member of the Academy of Medical Educators. He is passionate about advancing equality, diversity, and inclusion. Adrian's interests include fitness, nutrition, mindfulness and insight meditation, medical education, social psychology, and human factors / crisis resource management.
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