We are now seeing our first cases of the Coronavirus in the UK. This is an incredibly fast-moving situation and the best source of information is Public Health England.

You can keep up to date with the latest advice from the UK Government’s website here:

These pages are being updated regularly.

If you have any information/updates regarding the impact of the evolving situation on current and future exhibitions, meetings, conferences, outdoor events etc. being held in the UK, please do share with us. Thank you.

We will be updating this page regularly too, as new information comes through via the BVEP from the latest TIER group meetings:

Coronavirus – Situation Update – correct as of 16.30 14 February 2020.

  • The World Health Organisation has confirmed the official name for the novel coronavirus as COVID-19.
  • Public Health England have publish a blog around contact tracing explaining what it is and how it is being used to tackle the spread of COVID-19.
  • The Business Events Partnership has reported that an individual who has been identified to have COVID-19 attended a conference at QEII conference centre last week. QEII are working closely with Public Health England and the event organisers to trace the delegates and give them advice on the situation as a precaution. The QEII Centre remains fully open and events will continue to take place as normal. Staff and suppliers have been briefed on the situation and actions to take if they have any concerns about their health. A media plan has also been put in place to ensure that everyone has a clear view of the current evolving situation.
  • As of 14 February, a total of 2,964 people have been tested in the UK, of which 2,955 were confirmed negative and 9 positive.
  • Globally as of 14 February there are 64,437 cases of which 63,851 are in China.
  • The fatalities to date are 1,383 (1,380 of these are within China, 1 in the Philippines, 1 in Hong Kong and 1 in Japan).
  • The China Britain Business Council has shared a regional response update where they outline how local and provincial governments in China are supporting local and foreign businesses, the most common measures include:
    • Preferential tax and social security policies, with filing deadlines deferred or suspended
    • Direct financial support for heavily affected businesses
    • Rent reductions or suspension
    • Preferential loan and financing support
    • Reduced utility fees
    • Bespoke legal and administrative aid
    • Employment support and special labour regulations regarding quarantined employees

Travel related updates:

    • CLIA Members are to deny boarding to all persons who have travelled from, visited or transited via airports in China, including Hong Kong and Macau, within 14 days before embarkation.
    • CLIA Members are to deny boarding to all persons who, within 14 days before embarkation, have had close contact with, or helped care for, anyone suspected or diagnosed as having COVID-19, or who is currently subject to health monitoring for possible exposure to COVID-19.
    • CLIA Members are to conduct pre-boarding screening necessary to effectuate these prevention measures. Enhanced screening and initial medical support are to be provided, as needed, to any persons exhibiting symptoms of suspected COVID-19.

Coronavirus – Situation Update – correct as of 15.00 11 February 2020

  • As of 11 February, a total of 1,358 UK tests have been concluded, of which 1,350 were confirmed negative and 8 positive.
  • Globally as of 11 February there are 43,102 cases of which 42,638 are in China.
  • The fatalities to date are 1,018 (1,016 of these are within China, 1 in the Philippines and 1 in Hong Kong).
  • Enhanced monitoring will be extended at Gatwick airport to cover all inbound flights from the extended list of countries under the Department for Health and Social Care advice that was updated on 6 February.
  • Following the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s continued advice against all but essential travel to mainland China, British Airways have cancelled all flights to Beijing and Shanghai until 31 March 2020 and all flights travelling from Beijing and Shanghai until 1 April 2020. Flights to and from Hong Kong remain unaffected.
  • During February there were 335 flights due to arrive direct from China, this has been reduced to 224 as a result of flights being suspended. The February flights currently suspended are as follows:
    • 58 British Airways flights: 13,476 seats.
    • 29 Virgin Atlantic flights: 7,482 seats.
    • 11 China Southern Airline flights from Wuhan: 2,915 seats.
    • 13 Hainan Airlines flights to Manchester: 3,750 seats.

 

Coronavirus – Situation update – correct as of 15.00 10 February 2020

  • The UK Government has today 10 February introduced new regulations to delay or prevent further transmission of coronavirus. The regulations have been put in place to reduce the risk of further human-to-human transmission in the UK by keeping individuals in isolation where public health professionals believe there is a reasonable risk an individual may have the virus.
  • The regulations also apply to any individuals seeking to leave supported isolation before the current quarantine period of 14 days is complete. It will also apply to future cases during the current coronavirus incident.
  • The risk to individuals remains low.
  • A further 5 patients have tested positive for coronavirus bringing the total number of cases in the UK to eight.
  • The patients are receiving specialist NHS care and tried and tested infection control procedures are being used to prevent further spread of the virus.
  • The NHS is working quickly to identify any further contacts these patients have had.
  • As of 10 February, a total of 1,114 UK tests have concluded, of which 1,106 were confirmed negative.
  • Five UK nationals in France and one British national in Spain have tested positive for 2019-nCoV.
  • Globally as of 10 February there are 40,558 cases of which 40,171 are in China. The fatalities to date are 910 (908 of these are within China, 1 in the Philippines and 1 in Hong Kong).
  • Enhanced monitoring was extended on Saturday 8 February at Heathrow to cover direct flights from Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and Malaysia. There are no direct flights from Macau.
  • The extension of enhanced monitoring to flights from Singapore to Manchester comes into effect today 10 February.
  • Public Health England (PHE) are working with Birmingham Airport to implement enhanced monitoring to be in place to meet a direct flight from Thailand on 13 February and a direct flight from Malaysia on 14 February.
  • The revised PHE leaflets have been translated into additional languages to meet the needs of the airlines, these will be available from Monday 10 February.

 

Coronavirus – Situation Update – correct as of 15.00 5 February 2020

  • As of 5 February there have been two confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK, a total of 468 UK tests have concluded, of which 466 were confirmed negative and 2 positive.
  • Globally as of 5 February there are 24,553 cases of which 24,324 are in China, there are less than 200 outside of China in 27 countries.
  • The fatalities to date are 492 (490 of these are within China, 1 in the Philippines and 1 in Hong Kong).
  • Public Health England (PHE) has distributed 100,000 leaflets to airlines and airports. The information is available in English, Mandarin and Cantonese.
  • Airlines are being asked to call ahead with any issues around symptomatic passengers and PHE teams are on standby to deploy and meet these airlines accordingly.
  • The UK Government has announced £20m core funding to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) on 2 February to support research into vaccines.
  • The Diamond Princess cruise ship is currently in quarantine outside Yokohama, Japan after a previous passenger fell ill with coronavirus, 10 people on the ship have tested positive for the coronavirus. Princess Cruises has cancelled the next two Diamond Princess cruises 4 and 12 February.

Outbound travel advice from FCO

  • The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) updated their travel advice on the 4 February, advising against all travel to Hubei Province, and against all but essential travel to the rest of mainland China. They further advised British nationals in China to leave, if they are able to do so.

VisitBritain and DCMS attended a cross-Government meeting organised by the Civil Contingencies Secretariat (who look after the UK Government’s crisis response). Representatives from the Department for Transport, Department for Education, Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, and Department of Health and Social Care also joined the meeting (apologies from Home Office and FCO). The aim of this meeting was to look at concerns/potential impact on Chinese visitors to Britain, following BA and Virgin suspended direct flights between Britain and China. Key out-takes were:

  • Both BA and Virgin are operating a flexible policy and there are clear rules around care for passengers in the UK meaning that they are allowing cancellations, re-routings, postponements.
  • There have been no reports via TIER and TIER members or across Government of visitors being stranded currently.
  • Chinese visitors with health concerns need to follow the same route as the British public, so contact NHS 111. In Northern Ireland, visitors should call the Corona Virus Helpline: 0300 200 7885. They are looking to provide translators on these services. Advice of how medical support will be funded to follow
  • DFE are looking at arrangements for school children at boarding and at independent schools who are unable to get home on a case by case basis. The expectation is that provision would be made for them to stay on at boarding school and that those at independent schools have sponsor families who would support
  • MHCLG is looking at how we ensure the Chinese in Britain are not subject to prejudice as a result. VB and DCMS to link up with them given we have similar concerns re: visitors
  • We flagged the following as needing consideration/actions
    • Specific advice for tourism businesses on welcoming visitors and dealing with fears from other visitors/guests (mentioning examples raised at TIER re: language schools, hotels, attractions, etc.)
    • Potential insolvency of operators reliant on Chinese visitors
    • Rules for other airlines re: passenger care should they decide to pull routes
    • Overall, to consider visitors as well as the British public as part of overall planning and messaging

 

Coronavirus – correct as of 15.00 3 February 2020

Situation Update

  • As of 3 February there have been two confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK, a total of 326 UK tests have concluded, of which 324 were confirmed negative and 2 positives.
  • The two patients are receiving specialist NHS care, and the NHS is using tried and tested infection control procedures to prevent further spread of the virus.
  • The NHS is extremely well-prepared and used to managing infections and are already working rapidly to identify any contacts the patients had, to prevent further spread.
  • On February 2 the UK Government launched a public information campaign to advise the public on how to slow the spread of the coronavirus and reduce the impacts on NHS services – https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-public-information-campaign-launched-across-the-uk
  • The first repatriation flight arrived from Wuhan on 31 January, upon arrival British nationals and dependants were transported to supported isolation. An additional 11 British nationals were repatriated on 2 February, ten of those were transported to supported isolation. One symptomatic individual was taken to hospital for testing.
  • The FCO has closed its office in Wuhan and will be working in crisis mode across the rest of the country with a severely reduced number of staff.
  • The World Health Organisation does not recommend any specific health measures for travellers. In case of symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness either during or after travel, travellers are encouraged to seek medical attention and share their travel history with their healthcare provider.

Global travel restrictions:

  • Many countries have issued travel restrictions on Chinese nationals or foreign nationals who have been to mainland China as well as other preventative measures:
  • Denying entry to all foreign visitors who have recently been to mainland China: US, Australia, Singapore, India, Antigua, Jamaica
  • Denying entry to foreigners travelling from mainland China: New Zealand, Israel
  • The Japanese government will quarantine foreigners who have stayed in Hubei Province, China, and foreigners holding passports issued by the province (except in special cases) for 14 days before being able to enter Japan.
  • Italy, Czech Republic and Greece have stopped receiving and processing Schengen visa applications in China
  • Cruise Lines International Association members have suspended crew movements from mainland China and will deny boarding to any individual, whether guest or crew, who has travelled from or through mainland China within the previous 14 days.
  • Cruise lines will modify itineraries where needed and will introduce travel and contact screening where appropriate, for guests and crew who have recently travelled from or through the affected area consistent with prevailing guidance from global health authorities.

NB: there are other reports of restrictions in the media, but we have been unable to verify these from official sources at this stage.

Updated advice for visitors from China

  • From 31 January Public Health England has updated their advice for those that have travelled from elsewhere in China:
    • If you have travelled from anywhere else in China (not including Macao or Hong Kong) to the UK in the last 14 days and develop symptoms of cough, fever or shortness of breath, you should:
    • immediately self-isolate, even if symptoms are minor and call NHS111.

 

Coronavirus – correct as of 14.30 30 January 2020

Situation Update

  • Health protection teams have been in place at Heathrow since 22nd January and in Gatwick and Manchester since 29th January.
  • Posters and leaflets have been sent by Public Health England electronically to all 28 UK international airports and all UK Eurostar terminals.
  • Following Foreign Office advice against all but essential travel to mainland China,  British Airways cancelled their flights to and from Beijing and Shanghai until 31 January with immediate effect. This period has now been extended until 29 February, while they assess the situation. Flights to and from Hong Kong remain unaffected.
  • There are still a number of airlines operating between the UK and China so passengers do have other options to get home.
  • Other airlines including Lufthansa, Air Canada, United Airlines, Air India, Air Tanzania have suspended flights to and from mainland China.
  • Some commercial airlines are still operating but have reduced their services including Cathay Pacific, Lion Air, Air Seoul, Finnair, American Airlines
  • The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is doing everything they can to get British people in Wuhan safely back to the UK. A number of countries’ flights have been unable to take off as planned. They continue working urgently to organise a flight to the UK as soon as possible.
  • Anyone who now returns from Wuhan will be safely isolated for 14 days, with all necessary medical attention
  • Chinese authorities have ordered all their national travel agencies and online travel companies to temporarily suspend business, group travel and ‘ticket and hotel’ products effective immediately
  • The Chinese Government is asking travel companies, operators and tourism businesses around the world to facilitate booking changes and cancellations to help reduce the movement of crowds and reduce the spread of the virus. At the moment the Chinese Government are not offering any compensation to cancelled groups.
  • We are seeing some best practice industry examples from accommodation providers such as Jurys Inn and GLH who are offering free cancellations until 4 February to guests who are affected by the situation.

Re: Outbound travel to China from the UK:

  • The FCO are advising travelers who want to leave China soon, should consider making plans to do so before any further restrictions may be imposed.
  • They are advising against all travel to Hubei Province and against all but essential travel to the rest of mainland China (not including Hong Kong and Macao).
  • Please keep up-to-date on the FCO’s travel advice website here: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/china

 

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