Coronavirus: Latest update from VisitBritain

Coronavirus – correct as at 2pm 29 January 2020

Situation Update

  • There are currently no confirmed cases in the UK or of UK citizens abroad, and the risk to the public is low. (28th)
  • The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is preparing to repatriate British and EU nationals from Wuhan to the UK. All those returning will be put into supported isolation for any medical needs that they may have and to protect the public.
  • Airlines, including British Airways and United Airlines, have suspended flights to and from mainland China. Other commercial airlines are still operating but have reduced their services (full advice overleaf)
  • The FCO are advising travellers who want to leave China soon, should consider making plans to do so before any further restrictions may be imposed.
  • The Chinese government has extended the Lunar New Year holiday by another week to try to stop the virus passing through the population, meaning schools and official institutions will remain closed until 2 February. Shanghai has announced that all enterprises will remain closed till February 9.
  • Wuhan remains in lock down. The Chinese government are continuing to impose further restrictions on movement within China in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
  • 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 are 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.
  • Visitors can be reassured that the UK Government is closely monitoring the situation and continues to work with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and international community. The risk to the UK population is assessed as low. The UK’s public health measures are world-leading and it is always well prepared for new diseases with its approach kept under continuous review.
  •  The UK Government has introduced advanced monitoring at airports with direct flights from China. A team of public health experts has been established in Heathrow to support anyone travelling in from China who feels unwell.
  • This is a fast moving situation and the best source of information for any visitors with individual questions or concerns is Public Health England. Visitors can keep up to date with the latest advice from the UK Government’s website here
  • https://www.gov.uk/government/news/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-and-avian-flu-advice-for-travel-to-china
  • https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-information-for-the-public#advice-for-travellers-from-wuhan – this page is being updated daily at 2pm until further notice

 

Re: Outbound travel to China from the UK:

  • The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) are advising against all travel to Hubei Province due to the ongoing novel coronavirus outbreak. If you’re in this area and able to leave, you should do so.
  • The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) are also advising 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

Updated advice for travellers from Wuhan as of 28 January 2020

  • From 28 January, Public Health England are asking anyone in the UK who has returned from Wuhan in the last 14 days to self-isolate. Stay indoors and avoid contact with other people – and to contact NHS 111. If you are in Northern Ireland, you should phone your GP.
  • Public Health England are also asking people to follow this advice even if they do not have symptoms of the virus.

 

What this means in practice

  • People are asked to take simple, common-sense steps to avoid close contact with other people as much as possible, like they would with other flu viruses.
  • This means remaining at home for 14 days after arriving from Wuhan and not going to work, school or public areas.
  • Where possible, you should avoid having visitors to your home, but it’s ok for friends, family or delivery drivers to drop off food
  • Transport – you should not use public transport or taxis until 14 days after your return from Wuhan.
  • Getting food and medicine – it is recommended that you stay at home for 14 days after arriving from Wuhan, and avoid public places. Where possible, contact a friend, family member or delivery services to carry out errands on your behalf.

 

British Airways update

  • Following Foreign Office advice against all but essential travel to mainland China British Airways have temporarily suspended their flights to and from Beijing and Shanghai with immediate effect, until Friday 31 January, while we assess the situation.
  • Flights to and from Hong Kong remain unaffected.
  • Travellers flights who have been cancelled and they want to travel in the next few days contact British Airways. Or If you can safely get to Hong Kong, we can also change your flight to fly between London and Hong Kong.
  • Travellers flying between 31 January and 23 February 2020, can rebook on to another flight operated by British Airways to the same destination.
  • Travellers flying between 31 January and 23 February 2020, can request a refund. This also includes any redemption bookings.

For more information visit – https://www.britishairways.com/travel/flightops/public/en_gb

Posted on 30 January 2020

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Featured author

Sophie Milne

Featured author

Sophie Milne