COVID-19: guidance for staff and students

Last updated 16.05 Thursday 27 February 2020

We have very strong connections and collaborations with China, and these will continue despite current travel restrictions. This is a difficult time, especially for our staff, students and friends in China and other areas most affected by coronavirus. Our focus is on the safety and wellbeing of our community"

Professor Alice Gast

President of Imperial College London

We know that some of you may have concerns or questions about the current outbreak of COVID-19. We want to reassure you we are working hard to ensure everyone at the College is safe and that, as far as possible, College business proceeds as normal.

The College is following Public Health England guidance. UK public health measures are world leading and the excellent NHS is well prepared to manage and treat new diseases.

At Imperial we have followed well-established systems in setting up a cross-College group to coordinate our response.

In addition to the guidance below, detailed FAQs for students are also available

Guidance

Staff and students planning travel abroad

The FCO advise against all but essential travel to some areas. Please check the FCO guidance for your destination.

If you are due to travel to one of these areas on College business and you consider your trip to be essential, please seek approval from your Dean or Director and confirm the College travel insurance position. The College will not allow work or study related trips which are not covered by the College insurance policy.

If you are planning a trip with a group of staff or students please inform your Faculty Operating Officer or the Imperial College Union as appropriate – you may need to be prepared to make changes at short notice.

Staff and students returning from travel abroad

Please consult and follow the latest Public Health England advice

Areas where you must take action even if you do not have symptoms

If you have returned from these specific areas since February 19, you should call NHS 111 and stay indoors and avoid contact with other people even if you do not have symptoms:
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)

Areas where you only need to take action if you have symptoms

If you have returned from these areas in the last 14 days and experience cough or fever or shortness of breath, stay indoors and call NHS 111, even if symptoms are mild:
mainland China
Thailand
Japan
Republic of Korea
Hong Kong
Taiwan
Singapore
Malaysia
Macau

If you have returned from these areas since 19 February and develop symptoms, however mild, you should stay indoors at home and avoid contact with other people immediately and call NHS 111:
Northern Italy (defined by a line above, and not including, Pisa, Florence and Rimini)
Vietnam
Cambodia
Laos
Myanmar

Please note this guidance also applies if you have been in transit through one of the countries specified – for example, changing planes.

If you develop symptoms while on campus

Should you develop symptoms while on campus, please follow Public Health England guidance and call NHS 111. Whilst you wait for advice from NHS 111 or an ambulance to arrive, try to find somewhere safe to sit where you are away from other people, and avoid touching people, surfaces and objects. Cover your mouth and nose with a disposable tissue when you cough or sneeze and put the tissue in your bag or pocket. then throw the tissue in the bin. If you don’t have any tissues available, cough and sneeze into the crook of your elbow. Please contact the College Security team who will support you to make appropriate arrangements to follow this Public Health England advice.

Staff who work at hospital sites returning from travel abroad

If you are based at a hospital site, even if you do not work in a patient-facing role, please consult the specific Public Health England guidance for healthcare workers. Please follow this guidance rather than our general staff guidance if it differs.

Contact details for NHS trust occupational health teams

Imperial College Healthcare Trust

0203 313 7010

0203 313 063

imperial.healthatwork@nhs.net

Chelsea and Westminster

0203 315 8330

Occupational.health@chelwest.nhs.uk

West Middlesex

020 8321 5044

Royal Brompton & Harefield

020 7351 8902

Occupational.health@rbht.nhs.uk

 

Northwick Park

020 8869 2580

LNWH-TR.occupationalhealth@nhs.net

Contact details for the Imperial College London occupational health team

Telephone: 020 7594 9401

Email: occhealth@imperial.ac.uk

Staff and students who are unable to return to the UK and/or need to avoid contact with others

Please do not be concerned about your work or studies if you are abroad and are unable to return to the UK, and/or if you need to avoid contact with others for 14 days when you return to the UK.  

Staff

If you are a member of staff, please contact your line manager and coronavirus-guidance@imperial.ac.uk for support.

Please be reassured that you will not be penalised for missing work. Faculties are liaising with HR on individual cases.

Students

If you are a student, please contact all of the following for support:

Please be reassured that specific arrangements about your course will be handled by your faculty. The cross-College group is working with the faculties on any disruption to study. 

Please also consult the detailed FAQs for students

Immigration guidance for Chinese nationals in the UK who are unable to return to China

The Home Office has published new guidance for Chinese nationals who are unable to return to China from the UK.

If you are a Chinese national in the UK and have been compliant with the conditions of your visa prior to the coronavirus outbreak, your leave will be automatically extended to 31 March 2020 if your visa has an expiry date between 24 January 2020 and 30 March 2020. You don’t need to do anything to get this extension.

This also applies to Non-Chinese, non-EEA nationals in the UK normally resident in China.

Read the guidance in full

Visitors to the College from China or other affected areas

If you are due to visit Imperial from one of the Category 1 areas, we suggest you liaise with your host to postpone your trip. 

If you are due to visit Imperial from one of the Category 2 areas, please contact your host before confirming your travel arrangements.

Visitors and contractors on campus

Should you develop symptoms of cough or fever or shortness of breath while on campus, and you have returned to the UK from one of the areas specified by Public Health England in the last 14 days, please follow Public Health England guidance and call NHS 111. Please follow this advice even if your symptoms are minor.

Whilst you wait for advice from NHS 111 or an ambulance to arrive, try to find somewhere safe to sit where you are away from other people, and avoid touching people, surfaces and objects. Cover your mouth and nose with a disposable tissue when you cough or sneeze and put the tissue in your bag or pocket. then throw the tissue in the bin. If you don’t have any tissues available, cough and sneeze into the crook of your elbow. Please contact the College Security team who will support you to make appropriate arrangements to follow this Public Health England advice.

Looking after your own health

The WHO’s standard recommendations for the general public to reduce exposure to and transmission of a range of illnesses are as follows, which include hand and respiratory hygiene, and safe food practices:

Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water;
When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – throw tissue away immediately and wash hands;
Avoid close contact with anyone who has fever and cough;
If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your health care provider;
The consumption of raw or undercooked animal products should be avoided. Raw meat, milk or animal organs should be handled with care, to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods, as per good food safety practices.

We are currently looking into sourcing supplies of alcohol-based hand rub for use in the College.

Students and staff experiencing persistent symptoms (similar to those of a common cold, including fever, dry cough, sore throat, problems breathing, shortness of breath, headache and body aches) should seek medical care by calling NHS 111. Please do not leave your home until you have been given advice by a clinician.

Existing medical conditions

If you are concerned because you have an existing medical condition or disability, please discuss this with your GP in the first instance.

Accessing healthcare in the UK

Anyone can call NHS 111 for medical advice – you do not need to be registered with a GP to call.

If you have travelled to the UK from elsewhere in China or other specified areas in the last 14 days and develop symptoms of cough, fever or shortness of breath, you should call NHS 111 – do not visit your GP practice in person.

In general it’s important to register with a GP so that you can access NHS healthcare.

Students

Please visit the Student Support Zone page for guidance on registering with a GP.

Staff

Please visit the staff pages for guidance on registering with a GP.

Concerns about friends or family

If you have concerns about friends or family in connection with COVID-19, please contact your personal tutor and senior tutor or equivalent, supervisor or line manager for support.

Concerns on campus

We understand that this is a worrying time but please be mindful of how your actions may be perceived. Imperial does not tolerate discrimination or harassment.

Anyone who has concerns should contact their personal tutor and senior tutor or equivalent, hall warden, supervisor or line manager. If you feel unable to do so, please contact us at coronavirus-guidance@imperial.ac.uk

Detailed FAQs for students

In addition to the guidance above, detailed FAQs for students are also available

Additional advice

We will continue to keep this webpage updated. Should there be any major changes we will inform the community directly.

Further advice and updates are also available on these sites: Public Health England, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the World Health Organisation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If you have any specific concerns not covered here you can email coronavirus-guidance@imperial.ac.uk and your query will be directed to the most relevant person.