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Coronavirus

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About the virus and taking precautions

About the coronavirus, what to do if you feel unwell and precautions that you should be taking to avoid spreading the infection.

NB: Please note this information is primarily for UCL students and staff. 

Guidelines and recommendations

In line with Government guidelines, you must now:

  • stay at home as much as possible
  • work from home if you can
  • limit contact with other people
  • keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
  • wash your hands regularly

Remember, you must stay at home if you or someone you live with develops a high temperature, a new, continuous cough and / or a loss of, or change to, your sense of smell or taste. If you feel unwell and you think you may have coronavirus, please visit the NHS website.

Please see the Government guidelines and FAQs at gov.uk/coronavirus for information about how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus.

I feel unwell and I think I may have coronavirus, or I have tested positive. What should I do? [NEW]

If you develop coronavirus symptoms you must continue to follow the rules to self-isolate with other members of your household. You should also ask for a test online to find out if you have coronavirus or call the national COVID-19 helpline on 119 to arrange one. If you are worried or have any questions, please visit the NHS 111 website.

“Self-isolate” means you and all household members must remain at home. Do not go outside your home for any reason i.e. to work, school, or public areas, and do not use public transport or taxis. Please see the Government’s guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection page for more information.

If you test positive for coronavirus, you must share the information promptly with your recent contacts through the NHS test and trace service to help them alert other people who may need to self-isolate. Your contacts may include people that you live with and those outside your household. Contact tracing is undertaken at a national level in England by the NHS track and trace system and this service will contact anybody you may have inadvertently exposed. This does not therefore need to be undertaken locally at UCL. Tracing will be supported by the NHS COVID-19 app.

If you wish to confidentially report a positive test to UCL and you are a member of staff please contact Workplace Health by emailing ohsadmin@ucl.ac.uk and if you are a student please use the online Student of Concern Form.

When you ask for a test, you will be encouraged to alert the people you have been in close contact with in the 48 hours before experiencing symptoms. If any of those close contacts are UCL staff or students, you may wish to ask UCL to inform those staff and students (but you are obliged to do this). At this stage, those close contacts are not required to self-isolate, but they must:

  • avoid individuals who are at higher risk of becoming seriously ill with coronavirus, for example, because they have pre-existing medical conditions.
  • take extra care in practising social distancing and good hygiene and in watching out for symptoms.

If you are living in UCL managed student accommodation you will receive additional advice.  


For details of what to do if you become unwell with coronavirus symptoms, or test positive for coronavirus, and are working on campus please see Keeping safe on campus, section ii. For staff returning to campus. 

I have recently come into contact with someone with coronavirus or has symptoms. What should I do? [NEW]

When someone asks to be tested for coronavirus, they will be encouraged to alert the people they have been in close contact with in the 48 hours before experiencing symptoms. This may include people that they live with and those outside their household. At this stage, those close contacts are not required to self-isolate, but they must:

  • avoid individuals who are at higher risk of becoming seriously ill with coronavirus, for example, because they have pre-existing medical conditions.
  • take extra care in practising social distancing and good hygiene and in watching out for symptoms

If you are living in UCL managed student accommodation you will receive additional advice.

You may also be notified through the NHS test and trace service. You must self-isolate if you are contacted and advised to do so. “Self-isolate” means you and all household members must remain at home. Do not go outside your home for any reason i.e. to work, school, or public areas, and do not use public transport or taxis. Please see the Government’s guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection page for more information.

Should you need to ask for a test for yourself, you can request one online via the NHS test and trace  system or call the national COVID-19 helpline on 119. If you test positive or develop symptoms, please see the advice on this page about what to do if you become unwell with coronavirus.

For details of what to do if you become unwell with coronavirus symptoms, or test positive for coronavirus, and are working on campus please see Keeping safe on campus, section ii. For staff returning to campus. 

I'm a member of staff and one of my students or one of my team has told me they have coronavirus. What should I do?

If one of your students or a member of your team tells you they have the virus, you should follow these steps.

For students and staff:

  • Contact the affected individual and ask them:
    • - how they are feeling
    • - if they need anything
    • - if they have any pre-existing health conditions (if they are happy to share this information)
    • - when they were last on campus / at work 
    • - if they live in UCL accommodation Direct them to follow the the most up up-to-date Government advice. 
  • Share a local department contact who they can contact with any questions. 
  • Contact Media Relations on +44 (0)20 7679 9041 (Internal: 09041) if you receive any media enquiries. UCL will not mention individual cases in any local or national communications. 
  • Report the case via the Workplace Health online form.
  • Direct them to the free counselling available via the Employee Assistance Programme, Care First. These services are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Staff can telephone 0800 197 4510 to speak to an independent professional counsellor or information specialist in confidence. 
  • Please note that it is UCL’s policy not to release any identifying details about individual cases – such as names, faculty/department, place of accommodation or place of work – out of respect for their privacy and to comply with our duty under data protection law.

Cases where students are affected:

  • Report the case via the Student of Concern online form.
  • Provide them with the departmental contact for extenuating circumstances who will consider an extension or defer deadlines. 
  • Contact the UCL Accommodation office by emailing accommodation@ucl.ac.uk to confirm whether they live in UCL accommodation, if any buildings need to be closed or if any additional cleaning should be arranged.
  • Direct them to the Student Support & Wellbeing resources and Care First, UCL’s evening and weekend telephone and online counselling service. Students living in UCL accommodation can also get 24/7 support by contacting the hall of residence Duty Mobile to speak with the Residence team or Student Residence Advisers. 

Cases where staff are affected

  • Report the case via the Workplace Health online form.
  • Direct them to the free counselling available via the Employee Assistance Programme, Care First. These services are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Staff can telephone 0800 197 4510 to speak to an independent professional counsellor or information specialist in confidence. 

Please note that it is UCL’s policy not to release any identifying details about individual cases – such as names, faculty/department, place of accommodation or place of work – out of respect for their privacy and to comply with our duty under data protection law.