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Update on the Coronavirus outbreak

Written by Sebastian May
Published date 07 February 2020

You will have seen the ongoing coverage in the press and on social media about the Coronavirus outbreak in China. Here is some important information of which students should be aware:

Page updated: 7 February 2020

Risk in the UK

Public Health England has assessed the risk here as moderate and there is no reason to believe it is unsafe to be at UAL.

You can read more on the Public Health England website.

People who have travelled from Wuhan or elsewhere in the Hubei province

  • If you have travelled to the UK from Wuhan or elsewhere in the Hubei province  within the past 14 days you should stay at home and not come into college.
  • You should stay indoors and avoid contact with other people (as with any flu virus).
  • You must then call 111 from any phone line to let them know of your travel from Wuhan. You should do this even if you feel well.
  • If you have any cold-like symptoms, don’t go to your doctor or to the hospital until you have called 111 and been told to do so by the person you spoke to on the call.
  • 111 will take you through to the National Health Service who will ask you about your symptoms and advise you what to do next. It is important that you give them as much information as you can and then follow their advice.
  • If you are a student living in halls of residence, please contact the halls staff at reception to let them know you have called 111 and what you were told to do next by the 111 service.

People who have travelled from other impacted areas:

Public Health England has issued new guidance to people who have travelled from the following areas in the last 14 days:

  • Mainland China (other than Hubei province)
  • Hong Kong
  • Macau
  • Japan
  • Malaysia
  • Republic of Korea
  • Singapore
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand

If you have recently arrived in the UK from those areas and are experiencing a cough or fever or shortness of breath, you should do the following:

  • Stay indoors and do not come into college
  • Avoid contact with other people
  • Call 111 to inform them of your recent travel to the area

All people directly affected by this advice

If you are following the advice to stay indoors, you should contact Mark Crawley, Dean of Students on He will let your college know you are staying away because of the advice.

People travelling to and from China

  • Many restrictions have been put in place regarding travel to and from China, so you should check the information on the Foreign Office website before you make any plans.
  • The British Council is also advising against any new educational travel to China. Please speak to your course leader if you have a trip planned to China or if you are already in China on a placement.
  • For visa or immigration questions, you can call Student Services on: +44 (0)20 7514 6250

People who are affected by the situation

There are many ways in which we can offer support.

Information for prospective students from China

We are aware that local education institutions in China have extended their holiday periods and International English Language Testing System (IELTS) centres in China are currently closed. We appreciate this will have an impact on some students’ ability to complete their applications, and in particular with preparing their creative portfolios and evidence of their academic and English language qualifications.

Please be assured that all applications received in line with relevant admissions deadlines will be considered equally. We will take into account the likely impact of the escalating situation on our applicants from China and the wider region, and make every effort to ensure those students are not disadvantaged.

Supporting our community

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.

If you have been affected by racist behaviour and would like support, you can contact the University Counselling Service on: +44 (0)20 7514 6251 or

We take all reports of racism seriously and you can also raise a concern through UAL’s Tell Someone system. You will complete a simple form and then be put in touch with a member of staff to discuss the support available, talk about formal and informal ways of resolving an issue, and signpost you to further information.

Protecting yourself and others from getting sick

Always follow the World Health Organisation advice for the public:

  • Frequently wash your hands with soap and warm running water when your hands are visibly dirty
  • If your hands are not visibly dirty, clean them with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water
  • When coughing and sneezing cover your mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue – throw away the tissue immediately into a closed bin
  • Always wash your hands:
    • After coughing and sneezing
    • After caring for the sick
    • Before, during and after you prepare food
    • Before eating
    • After using the toilet
    • After handling animals or animal waste
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who has a fever and cough
  • If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing seek medical care early (by calling 111 in the UK) and share your previous travel history with the person you speak to on the 111 National Health Service
  • As per good food safety practices, avoid eating raw or undercooked animal products. Raw meat, milk or animal organs should be handled with care, to avoid cross-contamination with other foods.

PLEASE NOTE: These are the standard recommendations for the general public to reduce exposure to and transmission of a range of illnesses including Coronavirus.