Coronavirus: guidance for staff and students

This page will be regularly updated as the latest advice becomes available. The most up to date information can be found on the Public Health England website.

Date: 13 February 2020

Status: All London Met buildings are open and activities are running as usual.

Update: 12 February 2020

You will be aware from the media that the Coronavirus continues to be a significant challenge and that the UK Government has now declared it a ‘significant and imminent threat to public health’. The University is keeping up to date on guidance on the evolving situation. Our buildings are open and classes continue as normal.

London Met is proud to have an international and diverse student and staff population. We are aware of limited reports of abuse and blame which we unequivocally condemn. We again call on everyone in our community to continue to support each other.

Staff travel
We are always concerned about the health and wellbeing of staff, and made the decision to suspend travel by University staff to mainland China for work purposes last week. This is not only because of fear of infection but also the possibility of being caught up in state action that closes borders and leaves staff stranded away from home.

We are now extending restrictions and asking staff to consider using video conferencing where possible in place of travel to non-UK destinations. If it is believed that this is not a suitable substitute then ALL travel must be approved by the relevant member of SLT for your department, including travel that is already booked.

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30 January 2020

We are closely following the developments of the outbreak of the Coronavirus in Wuhan City, China. The risk to the UK population has been assessed as low and there are currently no confirmed cases of the virus in the UK. However, we are aware that some members of our community may be concerned.

We have already been in touch with students and staff who might be affected to offer them guidance and support and will continue to keep all staff and students updated with the latest advice issued by Public Health England. 

We are using guidance from the World Health Organization, Public Health England (PHE) to inform our policies and actions around this issue. All University activities continue as usual.

The most up to date information can be found on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s travel advice page for China and the Public Health England website.

Travel to and from China

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises against all travel to Hubei Province advise and against all but essential travel to the rest of mainland China (not including Hong Kong and Macao) due to the ongoing novel coronavirus outbreak. 

We have suspended all staff travel to China and Hong Kong until further notice. If you have an important reason to travel to the region, or if you have recently returned from there, please follow the usual absence notification procedure.

If you have been to Wuhan, China in the last 14 days

Public Health England (PHE) has assessed the risk to the UK population as low, but the situation is under constant review. PHE has advised anyone who has returned from Wuhan in the last 14 days, regardless of whether they have symptoms, to:

  • Stay indoors and avoid contact with other people 
  • Call NHS 111 for advice
  • Avoid visitors in your home
  • Avoid using public transport or taxis
  • Do not go to work, school or public areas

Please seek medical attention if you develop flu-like symptoms or have problems with your breathing within 14 days of visiting Wuhan.  Please do not leave your home until you have been advised by a clinician.

All members of the University (staff and students) and academic visitors who have travelled here from Wuhan in the last 14 days should follow this advice by isolating themselves so far as possible for 14 days after the date of their arrival in the UK. They should avoid close contact with other people as much as possible, and in particular, they should not come to lectures and classes and they should avoid public places.

Any individuals isolating themselves in this way may resume normal University and social activities at the end of the 14-day period provided that they have not developed a fever, difficulty in breathing or a cough (in which case they should contact NHS 111 as advised above).

Informing London Met

You should inform your school if you are isolating yourself. Staff and Students should follow the usual absence notification procedure.

Preparing for an outbreak

Although the risk to the UK is low, we are following all UK government guidance and are ensuring we have strong processes and procedures in place to support students and staff in the event of an outbreak.

General health advice

This is a time of year when many people in the UK suffer from coughs and colds.  Everyone is recommended to follow the usual hygiene precautions in daily life to reduce the risk of infection, such as washing hands regularly, covering your mouth and nose if you sneeze or cough, and keeping kitchens clean.

As a matter of general good practice, all students and staff should ensure that they are registered with a local doctor.  The NHS website has some great advice on how to register with your local GP.

Support for staff and students

We are contacting students from China to offer support and guidance - we are aware that this might be a distressing time for some of them. If any member of staff is concerned for any reason they should speak with their line managers immediately.

We will keep this webpage updated, but the most up to date advice and updates will be available on these sites: Public Health England, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the World Health Organisation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Graphics showing symptoms of the Coronavirus