Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice and guidance

Updated Guidance – Tuesday, 18 February 2020

The Government has published new guidance on immigration provisions made by the Home Office for individuals who are unable to return to China.

Due to travel restrictions because of coronavirus some students may be facing uncertainty in relation to the expiry date of their current visa or leave to remain in the United Kingdom. The Home Office understands that in many cases this is because of circumstances outside your control.

The Home Office has advised that subject to the guidance detailed here, 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.

If you have any concerns about your visa, please contact our International Advice and Guidance team: iagteam@liverpool.ac.uk

Updated Guidance – Friday, 7 February 2020

Public Health England (PHE) is now asking that anyone who has travelled to the UK from mainland China, Thailand, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macau in the last 14 days and is experiencing a cough, fever or shortness of breath should:

  • stay indoors and avoid contact with other people
  • call NHS 111 to inform them of your recent travel to the country and to ask for advice.

Any students this applies to should also contact the University’s Advice and Guidance team on advice@liverpool.ac.uk. They will then work with you to discuss: how you will be provided with alternative means of keeping up with your studies; reassurance that authorised non-attendance will not result in visa implications; and any other measures which need to be put in place to ensure that you do not need to leave your room.

For students living in university-owned accommodation this applies to, you must also ring reception and ask to speak to a hall warden. They will discuss how to support you, including access to food.

If you are a member of staff and this applies to you, please contact Human Resources on hrfeed@liverpool.ac.uk immediately who will work to support you in following this advice. You are asked to follow this advice even if your symptoms are minor.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice for travel to these countries currently remains unchanged.

**Frequently Asked Questions for Staff and Students**

What is the risk to staff and students?

Based on the World Health Organisation’s declaration that coronavirus is a public health emergency of international concern, the UK Chief Medical Officers have raised the risk to the public from low to moderate. Although nine patients in England have tested positive for the virus, Public Health England have confirmed that the risk of further contamination is low.

What action is the University taking?

Like all universities, we have plans in place to limit the spread of infection, should we experience any cases at Liverpool and a senior team is currently meeting daily to monitor the situation. We are issuing regular communications for students and staff, particularly around the importance of good hygiene and what to do if you experience symptoms.

What is the advice if I’m travelling back from China or I’ve recently travelled back?

Travel to the UK from Wuhan or Hubei province

In line with Public Health England (PHE) advice, 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
  • Call NHS 111 to inform them of your recent travel to the area.

Please follow this advice even if you do not have any symptoms of the virus (symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat and difficulty breathing).

Any students this applies to should also contact the University’s Advice and Guidance team on advice@liverpool.ac.uk. They will then work with you to discuss: how you will be provided with alternative means of keeping up with your studies; reassurance that authorised non-attendance will not result in visa implications; and any other measures which need to be put in place to ensure that you do not need to leave your room.

For students living in university-owned accommodation this applies to, you must also ring reception and ask to speak to a hall warden. They will discuss how to support you, including access to food.

If you are a member of staff and this applies to you, please contact Human Resources on hrfeed@liverpool.ac.uk immediately who will work to support you in following this advice.

Travel to the UK from elsewhere in mainland China, Thailand, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macau

If you have travelled from elsewhere in mainland China or any of the above countries to the UK in the last 14 days and develop symptoms of cough, fever or shortness of breath, you should follow the above advice. Please follow this advice even if your symptoms are minor.

What is the advice if I feel unwell?

Any students who feel unwell and develop problems with their breathing should telephone (rather than visit) their GP or ring NHS 111 for advice.

What precautions can I take?

For all our staff and students in the UK, in line with advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and NHS, we would ask you to follow these basic hygiene rules to protect your own health and that of others:

Should I wear a face mask?

The advice we have is that the risk of infection is low so extra protective measures are not necessary and it is debatable whether masks will be effective in this situation. However, it is a recognised custom for Asian communities to wear face masks to protect themselves and, in particular, others, from the possibility of infection. It is very important that we recognise and respect this.

I’m really worried, what do I do?

Although nine patients in England have tested positive for the virus, Public Health England have confirmed that the risk of further contamination is low. You can continue as normal, remembering to follow good hygiene practices as advised by Public Health England. If you have specific health concerns, please contact NHS 111.

We know this may be a distressing time for you and particularly for those students with friends or family in affected regions of China. If you are worried about someone and want to discuss any concerns please go to the Student Welfare Advice and Guidance drop-in in the Alsop Building. The drop-in runs every weekday between 11am-3pm.

I have an underlying health condition – what should I do?

Individuals who have an existing long-term condition and are concerned about coronavirus should continue to take their normal precautions and may wish to contact their GP. As advised by PHE the risks continue to be low of the coronavirus infection spreading. If people with long-term conditions have concerns they may have the coronavirus, they should telephone NHS 111.

As a member of staff, can I work remotely?

 This should not be necessary due to the advice from PHE that there is a low risk. However, if there are particular circumstances that might require you to work remotely these should be discussed with your department.

As a student, can I engage with my studies remotely?

This should not be necessary due to the advice from PHE that there is a low risk. Students should attend their scheduled activities. Lecture recording will take place as usual, but, also as usual, other learning activities like seminars and labs will not be recorded. In all cases students get the maximum benefit by continuing to attend. We do not envisage changing any assessments.

Should I go home?

We appreciate that you’re concerned, although we have been told by Public Health England that the risk of further contamination is low. We advise students to attend their scheduled activities. Lecture recording will take place as usual, but, also as usual, other learning activities like seminars and labs will not be recorded. In all cases students get the maximum benefit by continuing to attend. We do not envisage changing any assessments. If you decide to go home please ensure that you let your department know.

How many students do you have from China?

We are home to just over 5,000 students from China, at our Liverpool campus.

I’m due to travel to China, what should I do?

Advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is to avoid all travel to Hubei Province, and to avoid all but essential travel to mainland China for the foreseeable future. Further information on travel to China is available here.

Any members of staff planning to travel to mainland China on University business should not do so until further notice.

We will also continue to monitor travel advice to other countries and provide updates as appropriate. If you are planning to travel to a country with known cases of the coronavirus in the next few weeks, you may also wish to sign up to the FCO’s email alerts for that country. To do this, go to the Foreign travel advice page, choose the relevant country and click on the ‘get email alerts’ option above the summary.

I’m worried about my tier-4 visa if I self-isolate or go back to China – where can I get advice?

The Government has published new guidance on immigration provisions made by the Home Office for individuals who are unable to return to China.

Due to travel restrictions because of coronavirus some students may be facing uncertainty in relation to the expiry date of their current visa or leave to remain in the United Kingdom. The Home Office understands that in many cases this is because of circumstances outside your control.

The Home Office has advised that subject to the guidance detailed here, 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.

If you have any concerns about your visa, please contact our International Advice and Guidance team: iagteam@liverpool.ac.uk