Most cases of this new virus are mild, but typical symptoms include fever and a cough that may progress to severe pneumonia causing shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. This may be more serious for those with pre-existing respiratory conditions and the elderly.

  • If staff are returning from Category 1 countries – Hubei Province in China, Daegu or Choengo in Republic of Korea, Iran or designated Italian towns under containment measures – they should self-isolate for 14 days, whether showing symptoms or not.
  • If returning from Category 2 countries – Cambodia, China (other than Hubei Province), Hong Kong, Northern Italy, Japan, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, Republic of Korea (other than Daegu or Choengo), Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam – specific actions don’t have to be taken, but if symptoms develop staff should self-isolate immediately and call 111.


This should be standard practice anyway, but consider retraining all staff – irrelevant of their role – in good personal

hygiene techniques:

  • Wash hands frequently for 20 seconds with antibacterial soap and warm water and dry thoroughly on disposable towels, or sanitise them with an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Staff should be advised to wash their hands after returning from public places, particularly where they have used public transport.
  • Ensure work surfaces are cleaned and disinfected regularly and thoroughly.
  • Cover nose and mouth with tissue paper when sneezing or coughing and have the tissue paper discarded into lidded bins afterwards – and wash hands again.
  • Ensure waste is removed on a regular basis.


If you suspect coronavirus, ring 111 and request advice on how to treat or manage the patient:

  • Do not send a guest or staff member direct to A&E or their GP surgery.
  • They should be voluntarily isolated and prompt medical treatment should be arranged. Self-isolation is currently the only recommended means to stop it spreading.
  • Appropriate infection control measures should be implemented as soon as possible, such as enhanced cleaning and disinfection procedures.


It pays to be organised and prepared so:

  • Review your business continuity or disaster recovery plan and identify whether pandemic controls are adequate or in need of amendment/addition. Ensure this includes action to take should staff or guests suffer from symptoms of coronavirus – and who should be contacted.
  • If any staff members need to self-isolate, have you got access to relief or agency staff.
  • If a food supplier has to close their business temporarily because of coronavirus, have you got alternatives lined up and ready.


Public Health England currently consider the risk to the UK population to be ‘moderate’ but keep up-to-date on the latest developments and advice at:

Foreign & Commonwealth Office




Covid-19, Food Safety, Health & Safety


Food Alert