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:
- The Government has just announced the launch of the business support measures outlined last week: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-business-support-to-launch-from-today
- As part of this they have also launched a dedicated website that collates information on the support available for businesses which you will want to bookmark and send to members: https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-support/
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:
Situation update: following Prime Minister’s address on 23 March 2020
The Prime Minister addressed the nation this evening (8.30pm), where he outlined further measures the Government is taking to tackle the spread of COVID-19. Key points from the address;
- The PM warned that if too many people become ill at one time then the NHS will be unable to cope, and more people will die. He said that we must slow the spread of the virus to help with pressure.
- From this evening, the PM says you “must stay at home”. People will only be able to leave their home for the following reasons;
- Shopping infrequently as possible for essentials.
- Exercise once a day (alone or with members of your family)
- Travel to and from work (only when absolutely necessary)
- For medical treatment or to care for vulnerable people.
- The police will have the power to fine people and disperse gatherings.
- All shops selling nonessential products will be closed. The PM encouraged the use of online delivery for food.
- Playgrounds and outdoor gyms will be closed too. Parks remain open for exercise, but social distancing must be adhered to.
- Gatherings of more than two people will be banned, and weddings, christenings etc will be stopped, but funerals will continue.
- These measures will be reviewed in three weeks.
The full statement is available on this link: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pm-address-to-the-nation-on-coronavirus-23-march-2020
Additional Government/Political Updates:
- The Coronavirus Bill is currently working its way through Parliament. This will give additional powers to the Government, enabling them to quickly bring in strict measures (if and when they are needed). Attached is a short overview on the 329 page Bill, attached to this email for your reference.
- Extra protection has also been announced for commercial tenants to protect them from eviction if they are unable to pay rent because of Coronavirus: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/extra-protection-for-businesses-with-ban-on-evictions-for-commercial-tenants-who-miss-rent-payments
The Foreign Secretary has advised all British travellers to return to the UK: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/foreign-secretary-advises-all-british-travellers-to-return-to-the-uk-now
Situation update: correct as of 17.00 20 March 2020
- As of 09:00 20 March 2020, a total of 66,976 people have been tested. As of 09:00 20 March 2020, 3,983 confirmed as positive. As of 20 March 2020 13:00 there have been 177 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths in the UK.
- As of 09:00 20 March, of the total of cases which tested positive for COVID-19 in the UK 3,384 were in England, 322 in Scotland, 191 in Wales, and 86 in Northern Ireland.
- To see the number of cases of COVID-19 in England and the UK visit the Public Health England dashboard.
- As of 20 March globally there has been 234,802 cases including: China 80,967, Italy 41,035, Republic of Korea 8,652, Iran 17,361, France 10,871, Germany 10,999, Spain 17,147, Japan 950, USA 10,442, UK 3,983, Switzerland 3,888, Netherlands 2,460, with 9,598 fatalities.
- A total of 6,350 fatalities have occurred outside of Mainland China, in 60 countries.
- The World Health Organisation has a global map that reports daily on the global cases.
UK Government daily briefing summary
The Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer today gave a further press conference on COVID-19. Today’s measures focus on employee/individual support and strengthen the tone on social distancing.
- Strengthening the guidance issued on Monday, and following agreement from all devolved administrations the Government is ‘telling’ bars, restaurants, pubs etc. to close (although they can continue to provide take-out services), theatres, nightclubs and gyms will also be told to close.
- The Chancellor announced further measures on employee protection:
- Stepping in to pay peoples wages with a new scheme. A grant will cover 80% of wages up to £2,500 for those employees kept on the payroll. This will be backdated to 1 March, open for three months (may be extended). This will cover businesses of any size. HMRC working to get scheme running within weeks, with first payments made by end of April. In the Q&A the Chancellor stated that the scheme will cover everyone on PAYE (incl zero-hours contracts).Further details will be published on Gov.uk shortly.
- Corona Virus Business Interruption Scheme interest free period will be extended to 12 months. Available from Monday.
- Cash flow support via the tax system. Deferring next quarter of VAT payments. No business will pay VAT from now until the end of June. The payments will not be due until the end of the financial year.
- New national advertising campaign to communicate business support. Chancellor calls for people to consider the support carefully before laying people off.
- Increasing the Universal Credit standard allowance by £1,000 a year. Working tax credit basic element will also increase by £1k.
- Suspending the minimum income floor for everyone impacted, allowing the self-employed to access Universal Credit up to the level of statutory sick pay.
- Deferment of next self-assessment payments are deferred until January 2021.
The full statement will be available here shortly. https://www.gov.uk/search/news-and-communications?topical_events%5B%5D=coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response
Latest Government advice and links
- Further details about the Small Business Grant Scheme and the Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme have been published on Gov.uk today on the COVID-19 support for businesses page
- The ‘Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme’ announced in the 2020 Budget on 11 March has been brought forward, the new scheme is expected to become available in week commencing 23 March 2020.
- The UK Government has published updated educational provision advice, including a list of key workers.
- The online sick note system has launched on Gov.uk
- Updated guidance on what to do if you have a suspected case of COVID-19 in your household has been published by the UK Government.
- The Treasury has published guidance for Local Authorities on the Expanded Retail Discount 2020/21: Coronavirus Response, which sets out in more detail what is meant by ‘leisure, hospitality and retail’ when referring to the business rate holiday and other schemes.
- The UK Government has published a summary of impacts relating to the Coronavirus Bill.
- Following the UK Government’s announcement of increased measures to delay transmission, further guidance on social distancing has been published
Other travel measures, advice and updates:
- The UK Government has announced that it has worked with rail operators to agree a reduction in rail service levels to help tackle the spread of COVID-19. Rail services will be reduced from Monday 23 March and kept under review
- Harrods has announced it will be closing the store as of 19.00 Friday 20 March
- Singapore Airlines (SIA) and SilkAir have announced that they have adjusted services in response to COVID-19 and are suspending additional services across their network. To date, the suspensions mean that SIA will operate only 50% of the capacity that had been originally scheduled up to the end of April 2020
- Cathay Pacific: Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon have stated that they are to reduce capacity by 96% across their passenger network in April and May in light of the severe drop in demand due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The airlines have also update their refund and rebooking guidelines for all tickets issued before March 17 2020.
- Jet2.com – has announced that it is preparing to suspend its entire flying programme until at least 1 May. It also stated during the past week it had conducted an extensive repatriation programme to bring its customers safely home
- Haven (part of the Bourne Leisure brand) has announced that is temporarily closing its parks for holidaymakers from 20 March to 16 April 2020. In a statement on its website Haven said it was aware of holidaymakers concerns about the current COVID-19 situation and how this affects planned holidays at Haven. As it continued to reflect on this, and how it impacts the Haven experience it can offer, it had taken the decision to temporarily close.
- In India, the Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announce that from this midnight on 20 March, all workplaces will remain closed till 31st March. This is applicable in Mumbai, MMR Region, Pune, Pimpri Chinchwad and Nagpur
- The Vietnam Government has announced that all incoming travellers will be required to enter centralised quarantine from 21 March
You can also visit the VisitBritain/VisitEngland website where they continue to share advice for businesses and links to key updates and information.
Situation update: correct as of 16.00 17 March 2020
- As of 9am on 17 March 2020, 50,442 people have been tested in the UK, of which 48,492 were confirmed negative and 1,950 were confirmed as positive.
- As of 17 March, 361 further people in England have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of lab confirmed cases in England to 1,557. The total for the UK now stands at 1,950, which includes 195 in Scotland, 136 cases in Wales, and 62 in Northern Ireland.
- As of 17 March globally there has been 179,288 cases, China 80,881, Italy 27,980, Republic of Korea 8,320, Iran 14,991, France 6,573, Germany 6,021, Spain 9,191, Japan 829, USA 3,487, UK 1950, Switzerland and Liechtenstein 2,200, Netherlands 1,413, with 7,108 fatalities
- A total of 4,950 fatalities have occurred outside of Mainland China, in 48 countries
- Following the UK Government’s announcement of increased measures to delay transmission, further guidance on social distancing has been published, this advice is also being recommended to be applied to mass gatherings.
- The Foreign Commonwealth Office has updated it’s travel advice to avoid all non-essential international travel this is for an initial period of 30 days and effective immediately
- The World Health Organisation has a global map that reports daily on the global cases
- The Prime Minister has set up new ministerial structures to coordinate, prioritise and respond to the coronavirus pandemic across government. The four implementation committees include: healthcare, general public sector, economic and business and international.
UK Government daily briefing summary
The Government held the second of its new daily briefings on the UK approach to tackling COVID 19. The Prime Minister reiterated the government’s approach announced yesterday. He was joined by Chancellor Rishi Sunak who outlined a rescue package, in addition to the £12bn announced in the budget. Key points below:
- The Prime Minister outlined that the government are increasing the capacity of the NHS, investing in research and development, and acting like a wartime economy.
- Chancellor Rishi Sunak noted that this is a public health emergency but also an economic emergency. He promised that the Government will do “whatever it takes”.
- The Budget outlined a package of measures to support business during the crisis. This is the next stage of the economic response.
- £330bn of government-backed loans and guarantees that will be available from next week.
- Secretary of State for Transport will announce a package to support airports and airlines in the coming days.
- Stated Government actions are sufficient to trigger payments for those businesses with pandemic insurance.
- For the hospitality and leisure sector there will be a business rates holiday and a £25k cash grant per retail and leisure business for those without specific pandemic insurance.
- Strengthen support for people. In addition to the measures in the budget, mortgage lenders will offer a three-month “mortgage holiday” for those in financial difficulty due to the COVID-19 outbreak
- The Chancellor will give a statement to the House of Commons on the economy at 19.00 today.
Tourism Industry Council meeting
A meeting of the Tourism Industry Council was held today led by the Secretary of State and attended by a number of industry reps (including ALVA, UKinbound. UK Hospitality, ABTA, Hilton Hotels).
Key asks of Government raised at the TIER meeting reiterated points from today’s TIER meeting, calling for urgent/immediate action as follows:
- Long-term relief on business rates, PAYE, VAT
- Salary and redundancy support
- Measures from banks
- Urgent access to funds
- Budget measures for SMEs to be extended to medium and large businesses
- Support for landlords to look at sensibly phased payment schedules
- Mandatory closure to help with insurance for some parts of the sector (e.g. theatres and attractions)
- Tourism business advice and clarity on definitions
The Secretary of State confirmed that these will be fed into the Chancellor.
Other travel measures, advice and updates:
- The German Government has issued an official warning against all international travel
- The Indian Government has updated its travel advice to prohibit entry from countries in the European Union, European Free Trade Association, Turkey and the UK.
- Effective from midday 17 March, the EU and Schengen border will be closed – travel between EU and non-EU countries will be suspended. Further restrictions on movement will be implemented in a 15 day lock down
- China has updated travel advice for UK to do not travel
- Expedia has advised customers to only contact the customer support if your trip is booked within the next seven days
- Austrian Airlines has suspended all flights, effective as of 18 March
- The Lufthansa Group carrier Austrian Airlines has announced that is has temporarily suspended scheduled flight operations as of Thursday, 19 March 2020, in response to the entry restrictions imposed by many countries in response to COVID-19. Austrian Airlines will cancel all flights until March 28th 2020, and passengers who have booked a flight with Austrian Airlines during this period will be rebooked on other airlines if possible. Customers are asked to please check the status of their reservation before traveling via austrian.com and make use of our extensive self-service possibilities
- Brittany Ferries is suspending more passenger services following changes to government policies in France, Spain and Ireland. Details of its latest changes are online
- UEFA has postponed UEFA Euro 2020, which was due to be played in June and July
Situation update: correct as of 17.00 10 March 2020
- As of 9am on 10 March 2020, 26,261 people have been tested in the UK, of which 25,888 were confirmed negative and 373 were confirmed as positive. Six patients who tested positive for COVID-19 have died.
- As of 10 March, 44 further people in England have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases in England to 324. The total for the UK now stands at 373, which includes 27 in Scotland, 6 cases in Wales, and 16 in Northern Ireland. Contact tracing is underway for all cases.
- Information on the number of cases in each local authority in England can be found on gov.uk
- As of 10 March globally there has been 113,851 cases, China 80,754, Italy 9,172, Republic of Korea 7,513, Iran 7,161, France 1,412, Germany 1,139, Spain 1,024, Japan 514, USA 472, UK 373, Switzerland 332, Netherlands 321 with 4,014 fatalities. A total of 853 fatalities have occurred outside of Mainland China, Italy (463), Republic of Korea (54), Iran (Islamic Republic of) (237), France (30), Germany (2), Spain (28), cases on Diamond Princess Cruise ship (7), Japan (9), USA (19), UK (6), Switzerland (2) Netherlands (3), Hong Kong SAR (3), Australia (3), Canada (1), Thailand (1), San Marino (2), Taiwan (1), Philippines (1), Argentina (1), Switzerland (2), Iraq (6)
- The UK Government has updated their travel advice for travellers returning to the UK from specified countries. The advice has two categories.
- Category 1 : Travellers should self-isolate, even if asymptomatic, and use the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do next. Go home or to your destination and then self-isolate.
- anywhere in Italy on or after 9 March
- specific areas in northern Italy in the last 14 days
- Iran in the last 14 days
- Hubei province in China in the last 14 days
- Daegu, Cheongdo or Gyeongsan in South Korea in the last 14 days
- Category 1 : Travellers should self-isolate, even if asymptomatic, and use the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do next. Go home or to your destination and then self-isolate.
- Category 2: Travellers do not need to undertake any special measures, but if they develop symptoms they should self-isolate and call NHS 111.
- Italy (outside specific areas in northern Italy) before 9 March, mainland China outside of Hubei province, South Korea outside of Daegu, Cheongdo and Gyeongsan, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Japan, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Taiwan
- Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke at a news conference on 9 March, he said, amongst other items, that the UK is making “extensive preparations” for a move to the delay phase of its response to the coronavirus outbreak. He added that the UK will remain in the “containment” stage of its response for now. The full transcript is available on gov.uk
- The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to Italy, due to an ongoing outbreak of coronavirus (Covid-19) and in line with various controls and restrictions imposed by the Italian authorities on 9 March.
- The Indian Government is monitoring the progress of coronavirus cases around the world and updating their travel restrictions regularly in response. The north-eastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Sikkim have banned entry of foreign nationals with effect from 8 and 5 March 2020 respectively as a preventive measure against spread of the coronavirus.
Other travel measures, advice and updates:
- Following the French Government’s announcement to ban gatherings of more than 1,000 people, Atout France has postponed its travel trade event Rendez-vous which was scheduled for 23-25 March 2020.
- Ryanair suspends all flights to and from Italy until 8 April after the Italian Government extends restrictions.
- Jet 2 has cancelled all flights to Italy (Rome, Naples, Pisa, Turin, Venice and Verona) between now and 26 April 2020 (inclusive).
- The Spanish Health Ministry has closed all schools and universities in Madrid, the city of Vitoria and the town of Labastida. Outside of the education system, the health minister has recommended that citizens in Madrid and Álava work from home wherever possible, and avoid meetings. For the rest of Spain they have recommended increased precautions including limiting unnessecary journeys for those with underlying illnesses.
- The Vietnamese Government has announced that the visa waiver programme for UK citizens has been suspended with effect of 12 March 2020. Anyone travelling ahead of that time should check with their airline in advance as a precaution.
- Due to the impacts of the coronavirus situation, Finnair has already cancelled approximately 1,400 flights from its network and is now further adjusting its network to the decreased demand. This will include some flights to London from Helsinki operating on a different aircraft.
- Asiana Airline has reduced or cancelled a number of service routes globally, this includes flights from Incheon to London – these flights have been suspended March 17-April 24, this also includes several other European destinations. Further details of reduced or suspended routes can be found on their website.
- Due to the updated FCO advice Ski operators, Inghams and Crystal Ski are working to bring home guests staying in resorts as well as cancelling all upcoming holidays to these resorts for the remainder of this ski season.
- Belfast City Council has postponed its St Patrick’s Day celebrations as a precautionary measure following the cancellation of a number of St Patrick’s Day celebrations across Ireland.
- The Lufthansa Group (LH, Swiss, Austrian SN Brussels, Air Dolomiti & Eurowings) announced plans to reduce flight capacity by up to 50% (affecting all destinations) and to temporarily ground its fleet of 14 Airbus A380s due to COVID-19.
- Simon Hughes, Vice Chair of BVEP was on the BBC Business Briefing this morning talking about the impact of COVID-19 on the Events industry and what we are doing through TIER watch from 4:12
- Chris Skeith CEO of the Association of Event Organisers was on Worklife today speaking about the impact on the Event industry watch from 6:00
COVID-19 impact survey – reminder
- To ensure we are capturing the impact of COVID-19 on tourism and Business Events in a consistent and comprehensive way, we have created a questionnaire in survey monkey for businesses to complete. The questions in the survey will help us capture the impact on bookings, the wider economic impact and what insurance is covering as well as what Business Events are affected in the short and longer-term. Please ask your members to fill in the survey by using the link. Anything contributed will be treated as confidential – disclosures will not be attributable. https://www.research.net/r/VBCOVID19 Please complete the survey by 17.00 Wednesday 11 March.
Situation update: correct as of 17.00 9 March 2020
- As of 9am on 9 March 2020, 24,960 people have been tested in the UK, of which 24,641 were confirmed negative and 319 were confirmed as positive. Three patients who tested positive for COVID-19 have died.
- The Department of Health and Social Care has issued a press release outlining the Government’s proposed measures to combat the spread of COVID-19
- FCO has updated its travel advice for any travellers from Italy.
- Anyone who has returned from the Lombardy, Emilia Romagna, Marche, Pimento and Vento regions on or after 19 February 2020 should self-isolate and use the 111 online service for further advice, even if you exhibit no symptoms
- For all of Italy (outside of the lockdown areas) – if you have travelled to the UK in the last 14 days and have a cough, high temperature or shortness of breath, even if your symptoms are mild you must self-isolate. You are advised to use the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do next and not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
Other travel measures, advice and updates:
- Cruise Lines International Association has announced the adoption of additional enhanced screening measures including temperature screening
- Lufthansa has advised that short and medium-haul flights may be reduced by up to 25%. The company is allowing customers who have tickets purchased before 5 March with a travel date of up to 30 April to rebook a date up to 31 December 2020 at no extra cost
- The US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention recommends travellers, particularly those with underlying health issues to defer all cruise ship travel worldwide and avoid other situations that would put them at risk such as avoiding non-essential travel such as long plane trips.
- The Royal College of Physicians has postponed its annual medical conference, due to be held in Birmingham in April, until January 2021
- The Arabian Travel Market 2020 has been postponed until 28 June
- Loganair has taken up 16 routes formerly flown by Flybe. They will be launching from 16 March
- Control and isolation measures were imposed by the Italian authorities on 8 March: Lombardy region (which includes the cities of Milan, Bergamo, Como) and the provinces of Modena, Parma, Piacenza, Reggio Emilia and Rimini (all in Emilia Romagna); Pesaro e Urbino (in Marche); Alessandria, Asti, Novara, Verbano-Cusio-Ossola and Vercelli (all in Piemonte); Padova. Treviso and Venice (in Veneto).
- Italian Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte has announced that all events, public and private, will be suspended; and cinemas, theatres, concert halls, libraries, and museums will be closed. Restaurants and bars remain open with reduced seating and 6am-6pm curfews.
- The French Government has banned meetings of more than 1000 people
- Louvre Museum has restricted entry to only those visitors with pre-booked e-tickets or those who qualify for free entry
- The Government of Saudi Arabia has announced temporary suspension of travel for its citizens to United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, the Republic of Lebanon, the Syrian Arab Republic, South Korea, Egypt, Italy, and Iraq. Entry for travels from these areas is also suspended. All air and sea flights are cancelled at this time
- The Grand Princess will dock at the Port of Oakland and passengers who do not require acute medical treatment will be transported to federally run isolation areas. The crew will remain on-board under quarantine
- The IGLTA annual global convention, due to be held in Milan 6-9 May 2020 has been postponed
- The Australian Grand Prix will go ahead in March as a public event but The Bahrain International Circuit have announced the Bahrain leg of the Grand Prix will be participants only
- The China Britain business council have released results of a survey they conducted with UK companies in the import and export sectors
Situation update correct as of 16.00 03 March 2020
- As of 09:00 on 3 March 2020, a total of 13,911 people have been tested in the UK for Covid-19, of which 13,860 were confirmed negative
- On 3 March, Chief Medical Officer announced 12 further people in England have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases in England to 48. The total for the UK now stands at 51. which includes one case in Wales, one in Northern Ireland and one in Scotland. 15 cases have been discharged following two consecutive negative test results.
- Globally as of 09:00 on 2 March 2020 there have been 90,961 confirmed cases, of which 80151 are in China, 4,812 are in South Korea, 2,036 are in Italy and 1,501 in Iran
- The fatalities to date are 3,100. A total of 157 fatalities have occurred outside of Mainland China, Iran (Islamic Republic of) (54), Italy (52), Republic of Korea (28), Japan (5), cases on Diamond Princess Cruise ship (6), France (3), USA (2), Hong Kong SAR (2), Taiwan (1), Philippines (1), Thailand (1), Australia (1), San Marino (1)
UK action plan:
Today the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and his Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty, set out the options for consideration by Government to tackle the COVID-19 virus. The document, published this morning outlines;
- A possible delay strategy could be used to move the peak of the outbreak to warmer months so that it does not overlap with normal flu and allows more time for research
- There are plans ready for a range of outcomes, from mild pandemic with low impact on services (like Swine Flu in 2009) through to severe and prolonged pandemic
- There are plans for the Ministry of Defence to provide support to Civilian Authorities if requested
- If the disease becomes established in the UK, further measures to be considered include school closures, home working and reducing large-scale gatherings
- Police would concentrate on serious crimes and maintaining public order if a lot of officers are on sick leave, in the case of the disease being fully established
- There could well be an increase in deaths, particularly amongst the vulnerable and elderly
- Concessions may be made by tax officials if businesses struggle to pay tax bills
- Some non-urgent care in the NHS may be delayed to focus on treating coronavirus patients.
- Recently retired staff may be called back
Other travel measures, advice and updates:
- On 2 March Ryanair announced that they will be cancelling up to 25% of their Italian short haul flights from 17 March-8 April in response to the Covid-19 virus. Affected passengers were notified by email on 2 March.
- Wendy Wu Tours issued a statement saying in light of ‘The Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism are now reviewing all tourist attractions with an expectation that everything will be open from April onwards.’ They expect to operate all their tours in full from 1 April.
- The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidance on 1 March for Institutes of Higher Education (IHE) with students participating in foreign exchange or study abroad program due to the global COVID-19 outbreak.
- To consider postponing or cancelling student foreign exchange programs
- IHEs should consider asking students participating in study abroad programs to return to the United States.
- IHE should consider asking current program participants to return to their home country.
Coronavirus – Situation Update – correct as of 16.00 26 February 2020
- As of 09:00 26 February, a total of 7,132 people have been tested in the UK, 7,119 have been confirmed negative. Four further patients have tested positive bringing the total to 13. The virus was passed on in the Diamond Princess cruise ship and the patients have been transferred to specialist NHS infection centres.
- Globally as of 26 February at 10.00am there are 81,050 cases of which 78,064 are in China, 1,146 are in the Republic of Korea and 322 are in Italy. The fatalities to date are 2,768 (of which the following are outside China: Hong Kong SAR (2), Iran (15), Cases on Diamond Princess Cruise ship (4), Italy (10), Japan (1), Taiwan (1), France (1), Philippines (1) Republic of Korea (11)).
- British Airways is continuing to operate to and from Italy and they are continuing to monitor the situation closely. They have introduced flexible rebooking options for customers booked to travel to/from to travel between London and the Northern Italian destinations including, Milan (Linate and Malpensa), Turin, Bologna, Venice, Bergamo and Verona up to 2 March 2020. Customers can rebook to a later travel date up to 31 March 2020.
- easyJet and Ryanair flights are still operating as normal.
Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice for outbound travel
- The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) is still advising against all travel to Hubei Province, and against all but essential travel to the rest of mainland China
- The FCO is also advising against all but essential travel to:
- The FCO is not advising against travel to any other country/territory as a result of coronavirus risks.
Other travel measures, advice and updates:
- The World Health Organisation and UNWTO have issued a joint statement on tourism and COVID-19 calling for coordination. The key take outs are:
- Tourism’s response needs to be measured and consistent, proportionate to the public health threat and based on local risk assessment, involving every part of the tourism value chain – public bodies, private companies and tourists, in line with WHO’s overall guidance and recommendations.
- UNWTO and WHO stand ready to work closely with all those communities and countries affected by the current health emergency, to build for a better and more resilient future. Travel restrictions going beyond these may cause unnecessary interference with international traffic, including negative repercussions on the tourism sector.
- On 26 February the organisers of ITB Berlin announced that on the advice of German public health authorities all exhibitors at ITB Berlin will be required to fill out a declaration form. The declaration form is a condition for access to the exhibition grounds and serves to identify persons belonging to a COVID 19 risk group.
- They have also said “This is a precautionary measure in order to protect those participating in ITB Berlin and the public in general. The Federal Ministry of Health and the Robert Koch Institute have assessed that the health risk in Germany remains low. “
Practical advice and guidance
- The World Health Organisation has issued advice to the public ‘If you are not in an area where COVID-19 is spreading, or if you have not travelled from one of those areas or have not been in close contact with someone who has and is feeling unwell, your chances of getting it are currently low.’
Please also see an interesting article from Conference and Incentive Travel about the Hong Kong Government providing a subsidy of US$130 million to the exhibition and convention market to reinvigorate the industry after Covid-19 event cancellations.
Coronavirus – Situation Update – correct as of 16.00 25 February 2020
- As of 09:00 25 February, a total of 6,795, people have been tested in the UK, 6,782 have been confirmed negative. Four further patients have tested positive bringing the total to 13. The virus was passed on in the Diamond Princess cruise ship and the patients have been transferred to specialist NHS infection centres.
- Globally as of 25 February at 10.00am there are 80,250 cases of which 77,658 are in China, 977 are in the Republic of Korea and 229 are in Italy. The fatalities to date are 2,663 (of which the following are outside China: Hong Kong SAR (2), Iran (12), Cases on Diamond Princess Cruise ship (2), Italy (6), Japan (1), Taiwan (1), France (1), Philippines (1) Republic of Korea (10)).
New travel advice
- The UK Government is advising anyone who has travelled, or returned, to the UK since 19 February from Iran, specific lockdown areas in Northern Italy as designated by the Government of Italy, special care zones in South Korea as designated by the Government of the Republic of South Korea, Hubei province (returned in the past 14 days) to call NHS111 to inform them of your recent travel to the area and stay indoors and avoid contact with other people even if you do not have symptoms.
- The UK Government is also advising is advising anyone who has travelled, or returned, to the UK from Northern Italy (defined by a line above, and not including, Pisa, Florence and Rimini), Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar since 19 February and develop symptoms, however mild, to stay indoors at home and avoid contact with other people immediately and call NHS111.
Other travel measures, advice and updates:
- On 24 February the organisers of ITB Berlin published a new reassurance statement confirming that the event will be going ahead as planned.
Practical advice and guidance
- The UK Government has today issued COVID-19: guidance for employers and businesses. We are still awaiting sign off of the tourism business advice.
In the meantime you can check the Visit Britain website where we continue to share advice for businesses and links to key updates and information.
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:
- The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) issued a statement on 13 February outlining enhanced policies due to the ongoing COVID-19, the enhanced measures include:
- 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
- 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
- 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