© Crown copyright 2020
This publication is licensed under the terms of the Open Government Licence v3.0 except where otherwise stated. To view this licence, visit nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/3 or write to the Information Policy Team, The National Archives, Kew, London TW9 4DU, or email: email@example.com.
Where we have identified any third party copyright information you will need to obtain permission from the copyright holders concerned.
This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-guidance-for-healthcare-providers-with-staff-who-have-travelled-to-china/guidance-for-healthcare-providers-healthcare-workers-who-have-travelled-to-china
By ‘healthcare worker’ (HCW) we are referring to those who work in a healthcare setting within and outside the NHS who may come into contact with patients. This including clinical administration staff, and care home staff.
Healthcare providers should use their communication systems to message all staff in their organisation, stating that if a HCW has travelled to or transited through China, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Taiwan or Thailand (hereafter referred to as ‘other specified areas/countries’) and has returned to the UK in the past 14 days, the HCW should:
- notify their line manager and occupational health manager immediately if they have already returned to work
- if not already at work, notify their line manager and occupational health manager before returning to work
It is important that the HCW should not attend a healthcare setting if there is a risk they could spread COVID-19.
If a healthcare worker has travelled to China or other specified areas/countries and returned to the UK within the past 14 days, the recommendations are as follows:
|Criteria||Asymptomatic HCW with exposure within the past 14 days||Exclusion from work until 14 days after last exposure||Other actions|
|1||Travelled to Hubei province (which includes Wuhan)||Yes||Self isolate at home|
|2||Contact with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19||Yes||Self isolate at home|
|3||Exposure to healthcare settings anywhere in China or other specified areas/countries, such as working in healthcare, admission or visit to hospital||Yes||No other restrictions|
|4||Travelled to China or other specified areas/countries, but not meeting any of the exposure criteria 1, 2 or 3||No||Occupational health advice|
Any HCW with compatible symptoms requires clinical assessment, and must notify NHS 111, or NHS direct in Wales, or NHS 24 in Scotland, or Out of Hours GP service in Northern Ireland before notifying their employer.
2. Asymptomatic HCWs with household contacts who are possible cases
For asymptomatic HCWs who have a household member who has travelled to China or other specified area/country and is symptomatic, the HCW should be excluded from work until test results of the contact are available. If the results are negative the HCW can return to work immediately.
Household members of HCWs who are caring for patients with suspect or confirmed COVID-19, do not need to self-isolate and have no restrictions on any of their activities.
3. Self isolation at home
Refer to the advice sheet for home isolation and advice sheet for people who live in the same accommodation as the patient.
4. Occupational health advice
Those HCWs who meet criteria 4 should be advised:
- that they can continue to practice or work as normal while asymptomatic
- of the symptoms of COVID-19
- that they need to monitor their own health and make phone contact with the healthcare service using standard routes such as NHS 111 (as detailed above) if they become unwell
- they need to inform occupational health and line manager if they need be excluded from work
The HCW may use standard routes such as NHS 111 if they become unwell, or providers may choose to provide a direct point of contact.
Occupational health or senior managers may need to reassure work colleagues if they have been in contact with the HCW in work setting.
5. Return to work for HCWs who have returned from affected countries
For HCW meeting criteria 1, 2 or 3, who have never had symptoms, or have had symptoms, tested negative and symptoms have resolved, can return to work after 14 days. If they are still symptomatic this should be assessed on a case by case basis. PHE can be contacted for individual advice by their occupational health department.
HCW meeting criteria 4 who have had symptoms and tested negative, can return to work once these symptoms have resolved. If they develop new symptoms and are within 14 days of travel, they need to be reassessed.