Coronavirus FAQs

Published: 18 February 2020

Frequently Asked Questions about Coronavirus

1. What is coronavirus?

A coronavirus is a type of virus. As a group, coronaviruses are common across the world. Wuhan novel coronavirus is a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City, China.

2. What are the symptoms of coronavirus

Patients with confirmed infection have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of: 

  • fever
  • cough
  • shortness of breath
  • feeling tired

Symptoms are similar to influenza symptoms, so generally there is no reason to worry, especially as we are in flu season.

3. What should I do if I suspect I might have coronavirus?

The UK Chief Medical Officers are advising anyone who has travelled to the UK from mainland China, Thailand, Japan, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macau in the last 14 days and is experiencing cough or fever or shortness of breath, to stay indoors and call NHS 111, even if symptoms are mild. These areas have been identified because of the volume of air travel from affected areas, understanding of other travel routes and number of reported cases.

Keep up to date with advice from the  UK Government Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

4. What precautions should I be taking to stay healthy?

The recommended steps people should take to protect themselves are the same as those to avoid flu and any other similar respiratory infections. You should maintain good hand, respiratory and personal hygiene and should avoid visiting people who are ill with respiratory symptoms.

  • Regularly clean hands with soap and water or alcohol-based rub.
  • Cover nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with a tissue or a flexed elbow. Ensure you dispose of tissues hygienically.
  • Avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms.

5. What should I do if I have concerns about family or friends abroad?

We know that many of you will be concerned about the situation. If you or your friends and family are directly affected and would like to talk to someone about this, or you have any questions, then please contact us on our dedicated email address -

6. Should we wear surgical masks?

There is no significant evidence that surgical masks prevent spread of the virus. To protect yourself from infection, good hand hygiene is key and avoid crowds if you have concerns.

7. What should I do if I’m due to travel to Wuhan, other regions of China or elsewhere where Coronavirus has been confirmed?

Based on the latest Foreign Office advice the University will not approve any travel to or from Hubei Province. 
Travel to the rest of mainland China will only be authorised if it is deemed essential and on completion of a thorough risk assessment which has been approved by the Head of School/Service and the Director of Health, Safety and Wellbeing.

If you are travelling to others regions where Coronavirus has been confirmed and require advice or guidance, please email .

Guidance and advice on travel safety, along with the travel risk assessment template, can be found here. If you have any questions about travel, please contact

8. What should I say to students who are concerned about missing classes or assessments becuase they have to self-quarantine for 14 days?

Students have been advised that they should not worry about missing classes or assessments because they are following the above guidance.  They will not be disadvantaged and we will - where necessary - use our ‘Good Cause’ process to mitigate the impact; or, for research students, we will offer appropriate flexibility in terms of deadlines. In such circumstances, students should complete an absence report in the usual way. In the case of students who have a mandatory attendance requirement, students are advised to contact the course convenor or school office to discuss the situation. Students who have stayed at home should engage with learning materials that are accessible remotely if they feel well enough.

9. Who can I contact if I have further questions or concerns?

We understand this is a concerning time. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us directly on


First published: 18 February 2020