COVID-19 Exceptional Travel Advisory Notice

As countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including travel and border restrictions, the FCO advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. Any country or area may restrict travel without notice. If you live in the UK and are currently travelling abroad, you are strongly advised to return now, where and while there are still commercial routes available. Many airlines are suspending flights and many airports are closing, preventing flights from leaving.

 

Members and staff of the University and Colleges, and their guests

Previous Public Health England guidance on isolation for those returning from specified countries has been withdrawn and superseded by information in the COVID-19 stay-at-home guidance, which applies to all individuals who develop symptoms regardless of whether they have travelled. Please check the link below for the current stay-at-home guidance.

 

PHE stay-at-home guidance 

 

See the health page for more about the stay-at-home guidance.

 

Travel advice for British people travelling and living overseas

Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice for British people travelling and living overseas is available at:

 

FCO travel advice 

 

Questions and answers

Q. What advice should I follow if I am currently studying, working or travelling overseas?

You should take into consideration FCO guidance on travel as well as country-specific official advice from local government authorities and the nearest relevant embassy or diplomatic mission.

Q. I am abroad and cannot travel due to the coronavirus outbreak, what should I do?

Please check the FCO website for the latest advice for the area you are in and contact your department without delay. You should also consider registering with any local consulates or embassies, who can then advise on any updates and evacuation plans for respective nationals.

Q. What should I do if I have recently returned from an affected area?

Follow the advice of Public Health England and the NHS and contact your department without delay.

Q. I’m due to travel on Cambridge University business, should I postpone these arrangements?

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has advised British nationals to avoid all non-essential foreign travel. Until further notice, all University staff should avoid any international travel on University business. The University’s travel insurer follows FCO guidance; no traveller should make new bookings (whether British national or not) as the cover will be invalid. The Insurance Section is not authorised or regulated to arrange private travel or health insurance.

Q. Who is covered by the University’s travel insurance policy?

The University’s travel insurance policy provides assistance to employees and graduate students travelling overseas to carry out authorised, risk assessed University-related activities and Clinical and Human Studies. Cover is not provided automatically but must be arranged on a trip-by-trip basis by applying in advance when arranging the trip. Cover is subject to departmental authorisation and risk assessment. Please check the insurance website for further details on the policy.

Currently, the FCO advise against all non-essential overseas travel. Teaching and research trips - unless directly connected to the fight against COVID and unavoidable - are not considered essential. Therefore, you should not be booking travel insurance cover for overseas trips as your booking will be invalid.

Travelling home is not University business and such trips are not covered by the University’s Business Travel Insurance policy and the Insurance Section is not authorised or regulated to arrange private travel or health insurance.

Q. Will travel cancellations be covered by the University's travel insurance?

The FCO have advised against all non-essential overseas travel. You should not be booking travel insurance cover for overseas trips now as your booking will be invalid and cancellation (or other) claims will not be covered.

If you booked travel insurance in good faith at a time when the FCO was not yet advising against travel to your destination, your cancellation claim will be covered. Each claim will be reviewed under its own merits by our insurers.

Q. How do I make a claim on the University’s travel insurance policy?

All travel insurance claims should be notified directly to our insurer (Chubb), providing you have arranged travel insurance through them in advance of your trip. The University’s Insurance Section do not deal with travel claims: the traveller should liaise directly with Chubb using the claims online portal

Chubb will review each claim under its own merits and confirm, once they have reviewed the claim, if they are happy to accept it.   

Q. Is self-isolation covered by the University’s travel insurance policy?

The travel insurance policy does not provide cover for self-isolation after returning from a trip. Should a person have to self-isolate whilst travelling, the insurers will review a claim for additional costs on a case-by-case basis. Should a person contract the virus whilst travelling, they will be treated in-country until it is safe and possible for them to travel. Again, the insurers will review each claim on a case-by-case basis. 

Q. I am leaving the UK due to the coronavirus situation. Am I covered by the University's travel insurance policy?

No. The University's Business Travel Insurance policy normally covers trips for the purpose of University business. This means there has to be a business reason for the overseas travel, eg: 

  • location of conference or seminar 
  • meeting with overseas research collaborators 
  • visiting local library, archives, dig, etc. 
  • interviewing or taking samples from local population 

Currently, the FCO advise against all non-essential overseas travel. Teaching and research - unless directly connected to the fight against COVID and unavoidable - is not considered essential. Therefore, you should not be booking travel insurance cover for overseas trips as your booking will be invalid.

Q. Should travel relating to study, such as field trips and laboratory placements, be cancelled?

Other than students and staff returning home, non-essential overseas travel is strongly discouraged. The FCO advise against all non-essential overseas travel. It is not possible to arrange travel insurance: if you fall ill with COVID, you will not be repatriated – you will receive whatever healthcare is available in your destination country and you will have to pay for it.

Q. I am in the UK but wish to return to my country of nationality/permanent residence, where can I seek travel advice?

As well as seeking guidance directly from the airline and/or travel agent, check the website of your Embassy/High Commission in London for any information on returning overseas from the UK as well as the official travel advice from local government authorities in your country of nationality/permanent residence. Students can also check the website for their Ministry of Education, or equivalent office, which may post specific guidance for students.

The University’s Business Travel Insurance policy will NOT provide cover for returning home and the Insurance Section is not authorised or regulated to arrange private travel or health insurance. 

Q. I am currently overseas and planning a trip that would not originate in the UK. Do I need to follow FCO advice?

You need to follow the advice of the equivalent to the FCO within your own country. When interpreting such advice, please be aware that teaching and research trips - unless directly connected to the fight against COVID and unavoidable - are not considered essential.

Please note the University's Business Travel Insurance policy only covers trips for the purpose of University business. This means there has to be a business reason for the overseas travel, eg:

  • location of conference or seminar
  • meeting with overseas research collaborators
  • visiting local library, archives, dig, etc
  • interviewing or taking samples from local population

Cover is subject to departmental authorisation and a risk assessment taking into account the risk of COVID infection.