On 31 December 2019, the WHO China Country Office was informed of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China. A novel coronavirus was identified as the causative virus on 7 January 2020.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.  A novel coronavirus is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.

The number of internationally confirmed cases continues to increase daily. The vast majority of cases have so far been identified in Wuhan, however it has also spread to other Chinese cities and more cases are being reported worldwide, with cases in Europe, the Middle East, Australia and the Americas. The incubation period for the infection is days, rather than weeks.

Recommendations for preventing spread of infection:

WHO’s standard recommendations for the general public to reduce exposure to and transmission of a range of illnesses are as follows, which include hand and respiratory hygiene, and safe food practices:

  • Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water;
  • When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – throw tissue away immediately and wash hands;
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who has fever and cough;
  • If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your health care provider;
  • When visiting live markets in areas currently experiencing cases of novel coronavirus, avoid direct unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces in contact with animals;
  • The consumption of raw or undercooked animal products should be avoided. Raw meat, milk or animal organs should be handled with care, to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods, as per good food safety practices.

Advice for Members

The Club is in close contact with its local correspondents and is monitoring the situation. Any updates received will be published in the feed below.

This is a fast changing situation and Members are advised to check local current advice. Conditions may change on a daily basis during a contagious disease outbreak.

Owners should always follow health guidelines to prevent the spread of illness and not expose crew or spread disease. Loss prevention measures will vary by disease and may involve preventive vaccinations, vessel disinfections, limitations on crew or passenger shore leave, ability to obtain ship supplies, restrictions on treatment of sewage or waste water or even require cancellation of port calls. 

On the ground - Advice from the UK Club's Chinese correspondents

Huatai Insurance Agency & Consultancy Service Ltd, the Club’s local correspondents in China, are continuing to monitor the situation closely so that we can keep Members closely updated on this developing situation. 
Date: 29/01/2020
Oasis P&I have issued the following update on the outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus in China, advising on port operations and measures taken by the authorities to contain the spread of the outbreak.

Law Firms - Legal Advice & Guidance

Reed Smith - Client Alert 20-059

Clyde & Co - The Novel Coronavirus – Insurance Considerations

Norton Rose Fulbright - Coronavirus outbreak: The legal implications

Hill Dickinson - UK Ports and Coronavirus

DLA Piper - Going viral: the legal impact of coronavirus on force majeure events

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer - Coronavirus: Legal implications and practical considerations

Eversheds Sutherland - Fighting the Coronavirus - Key Legal Challenges and Solutions

Advice from our Network Partners

The UK Club's network partners, the International Seafarers' Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN), have issued the following advice for seafarers and shipping companies on the new type of coronavirus in China (2019-nCoV).

Industry Guidance

National guidelines / information:



Huatai - Cases related to Coronavirus

Huatai update



Fujairah Port of Fujairah - Notice to Mariners 271 30/01/2020

Port Health Authority Notice




Liberia Liberia Maritime Authority - Marine Advisory 31/01/2020
Malta Government of Malta Press Release 25/01/2020
Marshall Islands Marine Safety Advisory 05-20 31/01/2020
Russia Russian Federation Review - Coronavirus 04/02/2020
South Korea Correspondent update 07/02/2020
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka Port Authority 23/01/2020
UAE Federal Transport Authority 30/01/2020

USCG Marine Safety Information Bulletin




Thomas Miller Office Closures

Office closures (subject to change as the situation develops)

  • Shanghai:
    • 3rd - 24th February - office closed but staff will be working from home during this period.
  • Hong Kong:
    • 3rd - 24th February - office closed but staff will be working from home during this period.

Emergency Contacts

If you need to call our offices out of hours and at weekends, click After Office hours for a up to date list of the names of the Duty Executives and their mobile phone numbers. 

Ship Finder

This Ship Finder is updated on a daily basis. Members who need to advise the Club of updates to their recorded ships' details should advise their usual underwriting contact.

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