Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates for 2019 scholars and fellows

This page has been set up to provide information for 2019 scholars and fellows with questions or concerns about coronavirus (COVID-19). It will be updated on a regular basis.

If you are due to start your Chevening Award soon, or you are an applicant or part of the Chevening Alumni network (award years 1983 – 2018), please visit this page for information for you.

If there is anything that you do not feel we have covered in our emails, the website or in these FAQ’s, please contact your Programme Officer.

FAQ subjects:


Government advice

Where can I find advice on the symptoms of Coronavirus?

  • The UK government’s guidance can be found here.
  • The symptoms of coronavirus are:
    • a high temperature
    • a new continuous cough
    • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
  • If you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus illness (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home for 10 days from when your symptoms started.
  • If you live with others and you or one of them have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill.
  • If your symptoms are mild, do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital, this is so that you don’t pass on the virus to others.
  • More advice for households with a possible coronavirus infection can be found here.
  • Guidance on staying safe when you’re outside your home can be found here.
  • Observe the following key behaviours:
    • Wash your hands regularly and for at least 20 seconds.
    • Cover your face in enclosed spaces, especially where social distancing may be difficult.
    • Stay 2 metres apart where possible.

Travel

What happens if I am unable to return home?

  • We know that many of you are unable to leave due to travel restrictions, and we know that could be worrying. Please support each other during this time.
  • The Secretariat is working hard to support scholars to return home. Please contact your Programme Officer who will do their best to find you a route home.
  • The terms and conditions are unchanged for scholars remaining in the UK.

If I want to book my own flight, can I?

  • Although initially we allowed scholars to book their own flights and be reimbursed, we are now in the position where we ask all scholars to book their flights via our designated travel provider Diversity. They have good information on travel restrictions and can help you to identify the most reliable route home.  Visit their booking portal here.
  • If you are not able to book via Diversity Travel but manage to find your own flight you can book direct and claim back the cost of the flight as long as the flight meets specified criteria. Please contact your Programme Officer for more information.
  • Please note reimbursements will take a short while to process – they will not be completed until you have confirmed you have left the UK. If you are planning this approach please alert your Programme Officer as soon as possible. Please also update your Programme Officer when you reach your destination.

I have the chance to take a flight home that has been organised by my consulate – will I be reimbursed for this?

  • Please contact your Programme Officer with the details, and it will be assessed.

Can I travel to a neighbouring country because my home country has closed its airports?

  • We can only allow flights to a different country from your own if you are a resident there and intend on staying there.
  • With the current climate, we do not advise anyone to travel to a country that is not their country of citizenship or residence in case borders close while you are travelling.
  • If you wish to book a flight to a third country, you will do so at your own risk, and the Secretariat would not be able to assist if you encounter problems in travelling on to your home country.

I want to travel out of the UK for a holiday. What should I do?

  • With the current climate, we do not advise anyone to travel to a country that is not their country of citizenship or residence in case borders close while you are travelling.
  • If you do choose to go on holiday, we advise that you speak with your university about immigration before travelling, to ensure that you will not encounter difficulties upon re-entering the UK.
  • Please also ensure that you follow government guidance before travelling.
  • Please let your Programme Officer know if you are planning to spend any time outside the UK.

When will I receive my departure allowance?

  • Your departure allowance will be paid with your final stipend payment.

Wellbeing

What support is available from the Secretariat?

  • Your Programme Officer is available to you Monday – Friday during office hours (09:00-17:00 BST) by email or telephone. Please contact them with any queries not answered within our emails or these FAQs.
  • The welfare and immigration team is also available to you Monday – Friday during office hours (09:00-17:00 BST) by email at [email protected].

What should I do if I need medical assistance?

  • It is important to note that you should not go to a GP (doctor’s) surgery, pharmacy or hospital if you have mild symptoms, in order to help protect others.
  • If your symptoms get worse or are no better after seven days, contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, call the NHS advice line on 111.
  • Please note that the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) paid the Immigration Health Surcharge on your behalf as part of your Tier 4 visa application and this allows you to access the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK for free. More information about the NHS can be found on our website here.
  • For a medical emergency, call 999.

I am feeling very anxious about this situation. Can the Secretariat help me?

We understand that the current global situation is causing a lot of uncertainty, stress and anxiety, and that being away from family, friends and support networks is really challenging.

During this time, it’s important to look after ourselves and each other. Where possible, keep connected to friends and family via phone, Skype, WhatsApp and any other virtual means available to you. You can also contact the welfare and immigration team at [email protected]. Where available, make use of your university’s facilities, and speak to them about your worries.

Online help

There are also lots of online resources available to help and support you if you feel you need it:

Mental Health Foundation: Looking after your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak

Mind: Coronavirus and your wellbeing

Mind, the UK charity for improving mental health, have produced a definitive guide to help you cope with this potentially stressful and anxious time. The guide provides lots of advice on preparing your home for long stays indoors, lots of practical tips for looking after your wellbeing being and mental health and also a check-list of the things you might want to have ready for staying at home.

NHS: Mental wellbeing while staying at home

NHS: Mental wellbeing audio guides

These excellent NHS audio guides include some very useful practical tips and guidance on dealing with issues, such as anxiety and depression.

Student Minds: Coronavirus resources

Samaritans

If you feel you are in crisis then you can contact the Samaritans by calling free by calling 116 123. There are other ways of contacting the Samaritans via their website.


Accommodation

I have been told by my university I should leave their accommodation, what should I do?

Universities will do all they can to ensure that students who remain at university have access to support, food and other provisions and that critical services – like heating, water, electricity and security – are maintained. Please speak to your university accommodation office and ask for their advice.

If your university is unable to support you, please let your Programme Officer know as soon as possible, and keep them updated.


Visa

 I have a Tier 4 visa, will this be affected by the current pandemic?

  • We suggest that you speak to your university about this as they are the sponsors of your Tier 4 visa and should be able to provide you with further guidance.
  • Your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) shows when your visa is valid from and to – please speak to your Programme Officer if you’re unsure.