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Posted 06.02.20

UPDATED Advice for students and staff concerned about the coronavirus (COVID-19)

By Phillip Buchan

UPDATED Advice for staff and students who have concerns about the Wuhan Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

LAST UPDATED 25 February 2020

Out of a total of 6,536 tests concluded in the UK to date, as of 24 February 2020 only nine patients in England have tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19). These figures do not include the 4 confirmed cases from the Diamond Princess cruise ship who arrived in the UK and received test results from Japan.

As a small and welcoming community of artists, designers and makers from around the world, Plymouth College of Art encourages our students and staff to explore global opportunities. Many of our students are looking forward to international trips in the coming months, both to Europe and further afield and the college will continue to monitor and share official health and travel advice which may be relevant to your upcoming travels. The Department for Education are not currently advising teachers, students or members of the general public to vary any of their normal activities in response to coronavirus other than practicing good general hygiene measures. 

Working in collaboration with a network of South West universities, Public Health England (PHE) the Department of Health and Social Care, and our local accommodation providers, Plymouth College of Art will be updating guidance to staff and students on a weekly or fortnightly basis.

We will also look to support any staff or students who have essential travel plans or are planning international trips in the coming months. This includes liaising with your accommodation provider and NHS services to ensure that you would be well supported if you were advised to enter a precautionary period of self-isolation following international travel, intended to slow the spread of the coronavirus. If such a situation did arise, we would also work to support you academically, for example by sharing assignments and available online materials, to minimise any disruption to your study.

Useful contacts at Plymouth College of Art

If you are advised to self-isolate for a period of 14 days please contact us on +44 (0)1752 203434 or email and we will notify your staff and academic teams and will help to support you during this period.

Please also contact your accommodation provider so that they can make any necessary adjustments during this period.

You can contact Clever Student Lets on +44 (0)1752 500511 or at or Host on +44 (0)1752 395984 or at

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has now advised UK nationals to leave China where possible. The NHS and World Health Organisation (WHO) have issued the following updated advice for travellers returning from Wuhan, China.

If you have returned from Wuhan or Hubei Province to the UK in the last 14 days you should immediately:

  • stay indoors and avoid contact with other people (self-isolate)
  • call NHS 111 to tell them of your recent travel

Please follow this advice even if you do not have symptoms of the virus.

Travellers to or from mainland China, Thailand, Japan, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macau

If you have travelled from (or have plans to travel to) mainland China, Thailand, Japan, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macau to the UK in the last 14 days and develop symptoms of cough, fever or shortness of breath, you should immediately:

  • stay indoors and avoid contact with other people as you would with the flu
  • call NHS 111 to inform them of your recent travel to the country

Please follow this advice even if your symptoms are minor.

Travellers from Iran, specific lockdown areas in Northern Italy (as designated by the Government of Italy) or special care zones in South Korea (as designated by the Government of the Republic of South Korea)

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.

Travellers from Northern Italy (defined by a line above, and not including, Pisa, Florence and Rimini), Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar

If you have returned from these areas since February 19th and develop symptoms, however mild, you should stay indoors at home and avoid contact with other people immediately and call NHS111. You do not need to follow this advice if you have no symptoms.

Encouraging good hygiene

As always, if you have symptoms of a cold or flu, then there are measures you can take to stop germs:

  • always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitiser gel.
  • wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport. Use a sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • avoid close contact with people who are unwell.

Supporting Plymouth College of Art students

If you have plans to travel internationally to any of the affected areas or have recently returned from any of these regions, please inform Plymouth College of Art Registrar Steve Trotter and Director of Communications Jacqueline Moore, as well as your Subject Leader.

If you are awaiting testing because you have returned from mainland China within the past 14 days and have shown symptoms of the coronavirus, or have recently returned from Wuhan, you will be instructed as a precautionary measure to self-isolate for 14 days. If this is the case, please contact Steve Trotter and Jacqueline Moore as soon as you can so that we can support you, ensuring minimal interruptions to your studies. 

Respiratory infections such as coughs, colds and influenza are very common in UK at this time of year. There is currently no new advice if you are experiencing these symptoms other than to manage them as you normally would. If you have any concerns, please call the NHS 111 helpline rather than attending A&E or a doctors surgery. 

About coronavirus (COVID-19)

The virus originated in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China from a group of viruses that are already common in Asia but cases have now been confirmed around the world. Based on current evidence, novel coronavirus (COVID-19) presents with flu-like symptoms including a fever, a cough, or difficulty breathing. The current evidence is that most cases appear to be mild. 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.

The government is working with the WHO and other international partners, has issued advice to the NHS and is keeping the situation under constant review to limit the spread of the virus.

For further information and advice, please refer to: