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COVID-19 updates from LSHTM

Latest statements from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine for media and the public during the outbreak.

5 June

Education is central to our mission to improve health worldwide, and we are proud to provide world-leading postgraduate studies that shape new generations of researchers, managers and health leaders. After careful consideration of safety and wellbeing, discussions with current students, incoming students and teaching staff, and expert guidance from our COVID-19 researchers on how the pandemic may unfold in the next year, we can now announce our plans for campus-based MSc education in 2020/21.

  • Term 1 will be delivered wholly online. The safety and wellbeing of our students and staff is our top priority, which is why this decision has been made. LSHTM has a strong track record in delivering education at distance, which has been strengthened further in recent months by the need to move teaching for our current students rapidly online. We have ensured that students have still been able to achieve their intended learning outcomes through a combination of live lectures and facilitated seminars, scheduled to take students in different time zones into account, and continued to provide access to the same resources and expertise as on campus.
  • Terms 2 and 3 will be delivered on campus and online. Any students unable or concerned about coming to London can continue and complete their degree at a distance. Those who are able and willing to be in London from Term 2 will be able to receive some teaching on campus. This will have all the features you expect from LSHTM including learning from our leading academics, and gaining insights into our latest research. As you will expect from a leading public health institution, the teaching will be delivered in an environment where we can ensure the safety or students and staff through social distancing and other measures in line with the latest UK Government guidance. Courses requiring specialist facilities for practical or laboratory work are likely to be prioritised for access to the campus. Our intention, though, is to continue to provide some campus-based learning opportunities for all students wishing to come to London for their studies.

Further information for students can be found in our COVID-19 advice for applicants and offer holders.

18 May

Professor Peter Piot has returned to work as Director of LSHTM. He thanks Anne Mills for her leadership as Acting Director for the past six weeks, and for the whole senior team. He also thanks all of the LSHTM community who have been working tirelessly to ensure that vital research and education work has been able to continue.

9 April 2020

We are pleased to update you that our Director Peter Piot has now been discharged from hospital and is continuing his recovery from COVID-19 at home. He is extremely grateful to colleagues and students that have passed on kind messages of support. While Peter recovers, Anne Mills will continue as Acting Director.

6 April 2020

Our Director Peter Piot is slowly recovering from COVID-19 in hospital. He wishes to thank the skilled and brave NHS staff that are caring for him and everyone hospitalised with the virus. Peter is looking forward to returning to work. Professor Anne Mills is Acting Director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine until he returns.

2 April 2020

As an institution with over 3,000 staff working across the world, at LSHTM we are proud to be members of a diverse global community. LSHTM is committed to providing an inclusive education, research and working environment free from bullying and harassment, ensuring all staff and students are treated and treat others with respect, consideration, courtesy and dignity at all times. As a university and as a community we do not tolerate racism or harassment.

We recognise that the vast majority of people share our values of respect, courtesy and dignity and that many people are supporting each other during these challenging times. We have been deeply concerned to hear reports of racial harassment and abuse both in the UK and around the world as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. These attacks are cowardly and ignorant and are causing stigma and discrimination against minority and marginalised groups. Coronavirus is not associated with, or more likely to be spread by, any one ethnic group or community. We are all just as likely to get the virus as each other.

We have, therefore, published this statement to speak out against  these racist and xenophobic behaviours; and to stand together against hate crime. This is a time when we must work together and support each other - not create more division and hurt.

Professor Peter Piot, Director of LSHTM
Professor Umberto Dalessandro, Director of MRC Unit The Gambia at LSHTM
Professor Pontiano Kaleebu, Director of MRC/UVRI & LSHTM Uganda Research Unit

Support and reporting for LSHTM staff and students

We encourage anyone who has experienced or witness a hate incident to seek support and to report it. Any staff or students with concerns on this should contact their HR Partner or the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager (clare.matysova@lshtm.ac.uk). If you are the victim of or have witnessed a hate incident or crime, find out how to report this and receive support (intranet). Additionally, UK police forces encourage those who have experienced hate incidents and hate crimes to report it and they take all reports very seriously. Report an incident to the police online or by calling 101. 

1 April 2020

Update from Professor Peter Piot, Director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine:

In line with the UK government’s guidance I have been working at home for the past two weeks. About 12 days ago, I developed symptoms including a dry cough, fever and fatigue (in fact, I have never felt so exhausted!). I was able to get tested and have a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19. While I am continuing my recovery in self-isolation, Anne Mills, the Deputy Director and Provost is the acting Director for our School, until further notice. Thank you to everyone for your kind messages. I wish everyone infected with the virus a full and speedy recovery and I extend my thanks to all of my colleagues who are working tirelessly to ensure the outbreak has minimal disruption to our work at LSHTM. I continue to be inspired by NHS staff and those working in other critical services such as food production and distribution, postal and delivery services and waste collection. I look forward to returning to my full duties as soon as possible.

23 March 2020

MRC Unit The Gambia at LSHTM has tested a second positive sample of COVID-19 at our specialist secure laboratories in Fajara. The patient, who had underlying health conditions, has sadly died en route to hospital. Read the full statement.

17 March 2020

In line with the current recommendations, LSHTM is asking staff to begin to work from home where they can. The safety and well-being of our staff and students is paramount.

At this time, our MRC Units in The Gambia and Uganda remain open. However, we continue to monitor the local situation closely and will initiate our contingency plans for each site if and when required.

LSHTM is not closed, but over the next few days we will be transitioning to remotely run our School and education programmes as much as possible. LSHTM has been developing contingency plans for this scenario for many weeks to minimise disruption to our teaching and research activities during this unprecedented outbreak.

Working with our partners in the UK and around the world, our world-class research will continue to support the global effort to tackle this virus.

The COVID-19 pandemic will affect us all in some way. It is crucial everyone follows public health advice to protect ourselves, friends and family, especially those who are most at risk from the virus.

LSHTM wishes everyone the best of health over the next few months.

16 March 2020

The LSHTM community is working tirelessly in response to the coronavirus outbreak and we are committed to ensuring that our institution supports the national response in any way we can. We have taken the decision to release staff who wish to support the NHS and Public Health England with the response to COVID-19. This includes staff with medical, nursing and other clinical qualifications, and biologists to assist with laboratory work. If colleagues decide to take this step, we will reassign their LSHTM duties as required.

We are unable to advise non-LSHTM staff who wish to offer their services to the NHS and PHE, however we will update this page with relevant NHS and PHE resources as they become available.

13 March 2020

In line with the current UK government strategy, LSHTM remains open at this time. However, we are taking a range of sensible measures to prepare for a worsening outbreak, aimed at protecting our community by reducing the spread of infection, and minimising disruption to our teaching and research.

We are rapidly moving to delivering teaching online. Reduced face-to-face teaching will begin from Monday 16 March, and no face-to face teaching will take place after Friday 20th March until further notice.

We are advising staff and students against non-essential travel. From Monday 16 March, we are advising staff in 'higher risk' groups (older adults, people with pre-existing health conditions) to work from home.

LSHTM’s teaching and examination plans after the Easter break will continue to be guided by the government response, and our desire to minimise risk and disruption for our staff and students.

We are committed to ensuring the safety of our staff and students, and are following official advice from the UK government and Public Health England, which is grounded on the best available scientific evidence.

Working with our partners in the UK and around the world, our world-class research continues to support the global effort to tackle this virus.

This includes infectious disease modelling to advise policymakers on the most effective control measures and our MRC Units in The Gambia and Uganda assisting Africa’s COVID-19 preparedness.

Members of the UK Public Health Rapid Support Team, a partnership between LSHTM and Public Health England, funded by UK Aid, are supporting countries around the world with their response to COVID-19

The outbreak of COVID-19 is unprecedented and fast moving. This coronavirus does not discriminate. No virus cares about race, gender or sexual orientation. If we all look out for each other, heed public health advice, and work collaboratively, the COVID-19 pandemic will end more quickly.


Useful links


LSHTM's response to COVID-19

LSHTM experts are involved in many different aspects of COVID-19 research as well as providing guidance to those responding around the globe every day. Find out about our latest research, news, events and free online courses on the outbreak.

Subscribe to our new LSHTM Viral podcast to hear the latest science behind the coronavirus outbreak and the global response to COVID-19. You can listen to LSHTM Viral wherever you get your podcasts: Anchor, Apple Podcasts, Breaker, Castbox, Google Podcasts, Overcast, Pocket Casts, RadioPublic, Spotify, Stitcher.

    COVID-19 Response Fund

    There cannot be any complacency as to the need for global action.

    With your help, we can plug critical gaps in the understanding of COVID-19. This will support global response efforts and help to save lives around the world.