A monthly update on disease outbreaks around the world, from our Lead Nurse JO THOMPSON.


COVID-19 Update

  • The first case of Coronavirus was reported on 31 December 2019 in Wuhan city in China.  It has since spread worldwide.
  • As of 26th January 2021, there have been over 98 million confirmed cases of Coronavirus worldwide with over 2.1 million deaths
  • There has been a decrease this week with deaths in Europe and Americans and South East Asia.  
  • There have been new variants called SARS-CoV-2  in England, Brazil and South Africa.  Due to these variants, additional travel restrictions are imposed in many countries. 
  • Travellers are reminded that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are travel and border restrictions, the FCO  advises British nationals against all but essential international travel to many locations.  These are under constant review. Any country or area may restrict travel without notice. COVID free certificates may be required for entry to countries so please check the FCO website. Follow local Government guidance on COVID in each country.
  • From the 18th January 2021, any international traveller arriving into England, will need to present a negative coronavirus certificate within 72 hours of departure. You will also need to isolate for 10 days when arriving. You can have a COVID-19 test to release after 5 days. More Information here.
  • COVID-19 is spread via droplets of saliva or discharge from your nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes.  Practice good respiratory etiquette and do not touch your face.
  • A reminder of the common symptoms: high fever, new continuous cough, loss of or change in normal sense of taste or smell.
  • Remember - HAND HYGIENE - Wash your hands more often than usual, for 20 seconds using soap and hot water, particularly after coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose, or after being in public areas.  Use alcohol based hand sanitiser if that’s all you have access to. 
  • Remember - RESPIRATORY HYGIENE - To reduce the spread of germs where a mask in public places. When you cough or sneeze, if not wearing a mask, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, or your sleeve, and throw the tissue in a bin immediately. Then wash your hands or use a hand sanitiser. 
  • Remember - GENERAL HYGIENE - Clean and disinfect regularly touched objects and surfaces using your regular cleaning products to reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people.
  • Remember - KEEP DISTANCE - try to keep at least 2 metre away from people not in your household bubble
  • Please remember to follow your local Government guidelines on coronavirus precautions.
  • If you are in the UK 
  • The UK government states -  If you have these symptoms, however mild, stay at home and do not leave your house for at least 10 days from when the symptoms started.  If you live with others then all your household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days.  If your symptoms worsen or are no better after 10 days then contact NHS 111.  
  • If you have any symptoms of COVID-19 then please arrange for a test via NHS.uk or phone 119.
  • An information sheet on COVID-19  is available to download here
  • You can also visit our website for more resources related to COVID-19 here
  • More information can be found here: WHO, NHS, FCO.

Outbreak of Polio in Sierra Leone

  • On 30th December, there have been 3 new cases of Polio in Sierra Leone.  These are the first polio cases in the country
  • Polio is spread between person to person through faecal-oral route and by consuming contaminated food and water
  • A booster of Polio vaccine is recommended every 10 years if travelling to a country where polio remains a problem.  Please seek travel health advice regarding this. 

Information from Travel Health Pro, World Health Organisation, Travax and Fit for Travel.