Coronavirus – Information and Guidance
Following the ongoing coverage in the press and social media about the Coronavirus outbreak, please be assured that we are monitoring this carefully and will respond with advice as and when more is made available by Public Health England. We have detailed below the latest advice which you should be aware of:
Risk to the UK
The risk to the UK has been assessed as high. Government advice currently advises schools and colleges to close, except for the children of critical workers. Further advice recommends to work from home wherever possible and to avoid public gatherings in the form of pubs, restaurants, theatres, cinemas, faith gatherings etc.
In the event the advice is changed, the College will update this information accordingly. You can read more on the Public Health England Website
About the Virus
Coronavirus is a type of virus, it is also known at COVID-19. Typical symptoms of coronavirus include fever and a cough that may progress to a severe pneumonia causing shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.
Generally, coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.
Public Health England Advice
Public Health England have issued the following advice for anyone in any setting:
- If you have been in contact with someone with coronavirus or have returned from an affected area identified by the Chief Medical Officer as high risk and you are feeling unwell with a cough, difficulty breathing or fever, stay at home and use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service or call NHS 111.
- Wash your hands more often than usual, for 20 seconds using soap and hot water, particularly after coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose, or after being in public areas where other people are doing so. Use hand sanitiser if that’s all you have access to.
- To reduce the spread of germs when you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, or your sleeve (not your hands) if you don’t have a tissue, and throw the tissue away immediately. Then wash your hands or use a hand sanitising gel.
- Clean and disinfect regularly touched objects and surfaces using your regular cleaning products to reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people.
At the current time and based on the understanding of what is known of COVID-19 and other similar respiratory viruses, it is likely that older people and those with chronic medical conditions may be vulnerable to severe disease. As more information emerges, recommendations may change.
Always follow the World Health Organisations advice for the public on protecting yourself.
PLEASE NOTE: These are the standard recommendations for the general public to reduce exposure to and transmission of a range of illnesses including Coronavirus.
What to do if you, or a member of your household, has symptoms
Stay at home for 14 days if you, or a member of your household have either:
- a high temperature
- a new continuous cough
This will help to protect others in your community while you are infectious. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. You do not need to contact NHS 111 to tell them you’re staying at home. The health service will not be testing people who are self-isolating with mild symptoms.
Those at increased risk
The majority of the population are anticipated to contract a mild to moderate version of the infection. However, the Government has released details of those considered at increased risk of severe illness as a result of Covid-19 infection. This group includes those who are:
- aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions)
- under 70 with an underlying health condition listed below (ie anyone instructed to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds):
- o chronic (long-term) respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis
- chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
- chronic kidney disease
- chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
- chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), a learning disability or cerebral palsy
- problems with your spleen – for example, sickle cell disease or if you have had your spleen removed
- a weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy
- being seriously overweight (a BMI of 40 or above)
- those who are pregnant
Note: there are some clinical conditions which put people at even higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19*. If you are in this category, next week the NHS in England will directly contact you with advice the more stringent measures you should take in order to keep yourself and others safe. For now, you should rigorously follow the social distancing advice in full, outlined below. Further information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people/guidance-on-social-distancing-for-everyone-in-the-uk-and-protecting-older-people-and-vulnerable-adults
*People falling into this group are those who may be at particular risk due to complex health problems such as:
- People who have received an organ transplant and remain on ongoing immunosuppression medication
- People with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radiotherapy
- People with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia who are at any stage of treatment
- People with severe chest conditions such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma (requiring hospital admissions or courses of steroid tablets)
- People with severe diseases of body systems, such as severe kidney disease (dialysis)
What is social distancing?
Social distancing measures are steps you can take to reduce the social interaction between people. This will help reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).
- Avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough;
- Avoid non-essential use of public transport, varying your travel times to avoid rush hour, when possible;
- Work from home, where possible. Your employer should support you to do this. Please refer to employer guidance for more information;
- Avoid large gatherings, and gatherings in smaller public spaces such as pubs, cinemas, restaurants, theatres, bars, clubs
- Avoid gatherings with friends and family. Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media.
- Use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services.
Everyone should be trying to follow these measures as much as is pragmatic.
For those who are over 70, have an underlying health condition or are pregnant, we strongly advise you to follow the above measures as much as you can, and to significantly limit your face-to-face interaction with friends and family if possible.
This advice is likely to be in place for some weeks.
Travel to and from affected areas:
The Foreign Secretary has issued an advisory against all “non-essential travel globally for an initial period of 30 days.
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) lists details of any international travel restrictions or advisories. As this information is changing rapidly, please check the FCO website for advice if you need to travel to, or from, the UK.
Finally, we have also seen stories in the press about increased racist behaviour since the outbreak of the virus. We are committed to promoting a safe and inclusive environment for everyone, so this is a time for us all to come together to support our entire community. Please be kind to everyone and do all you can to support each other.
We will update advice and guidance on a weekly basis or as this changes on the Regent College London website so please keep checking here. If you have any concerns about any of the above and would like to talk to us please contact your campus Student Support Team.
Page last updated – 20/03/20