Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak

10 March 2020

Article: 54/1001

The World Health Organization (WHO) continues to produce daily situation reports containing the latest numbers of confirmed cases of COVID-19. As of 8 March 2020, 105,586 cases, including 3,584 deaths, had been confirmed globally.

The outbreak now affects countries in all regions of the world. Outside of China, the Republic of Korea, Italy and Iran have seen the greatest number of cases. A full list of affected countries can be viewed on the Public Health England (PHE) website.

While the WHO has reported that most people who have COVID-19 will experience a mild illness, elderly people and those with existing health problems are at greatest risk of severe illness.

Advice for travellers

Prior to travel, the following should be checked: 

  • The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) website, which provides guidance for UK nationals travelling overseas, including how to seek consular assistance if required. 
  • Travel agents or airlines, to access the latest information on local travel restrictions and local authority guidance relating to COVID-19. 
  • Travel insurance policies, as the COVID-19 outbreak may impact travel insurance coverage
  • The FCO countries or territories pages, for the latest travel advice, including: 
    • Travel advisories and restrictions, as these are subject to change they should be checked regularly. The FCO currently advise against all travel to Hubei Province and all but essential travel to the rest of mainland China (not including Hong Kong and Macao). 
    • Entry requirements for the destination, as a number of countries have announced restrictions on entry by travellers from China in response to the outbreak. 
    • Reports of COVID-19 at the destination. Travellers to countries reporting cases of COVID-19 should follow local public health advice.

Returning travellers can check the latest advice on risk areas, including information about self-isolation, from the Health Protection Scotland (HPS) website (travellers returning to Scotland) and the PHE website (travellers returning to other parts of UK).

Travellers from risk areas who develop symptoms on return to the UK, that are compatible with COVID-19, should self-isolate and contact one of the following:

  • their General Practitioner or NHS24 out-of-hours (Call 111) (Scotland) 
  • NHS 111 (England and Wales) 
  • 0300 200 7885 (Northern Ireland)

Travellers can access information on COVID-19, including prevention advice, on the fitfortravel and NHS Inform websites.

Advice for healthcare practitioners

Health professionals should remain vigilant for symptomatic individuals who may have COVID-19.

Guidance on testing, as well as a range of other resource materials, is available from the HPS (for Scotland) and PHE (for the rest of the UK) websites.

Health professionals can access information on COVID-19, including prevention advice, on the TRAVAX website.

Source: TRAVAX, 5 March 2020