At this difficult time, we understand rapidly changing events can be even more complex for our expatriate readers. Our thoughts are with you, we hope you, your family and loved ones stay healthy.
In response to the growing number of enquiries about COVID-19 from expats visiting our site, we have set up a page with the links to official government sites where you can get the latest updates and official advice on the coronavirus.
Basic protective measures against the coronavirus
Stay aware of the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak. Get the latest information on the COVID-19 spread and how to take care of your health and protect others on the WHO website.
COVID-19: situation dashboard
An up to date situation in the world and country by country on the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control site: https://qap.ecdc.europa.eu/public/extensions/COVID-19/COVID-19.html
Situation update for the EU/EEA and the UK:
Guidance for Britons travelling and living overseas
UK Government official page: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus
British expats in Spain
A Nationwide State of Emergency was declared in Spain on Saturday. The key requirements are to stay at home and only go out for very specific reasons like buying food and other essentials, visiting a hospital or health centre, going to work if you can’t work from home.
If you are a British citizen residing in Spain you must follow the instructions of the local authorities. This link will provide you with more information on coronavirus in Spain and the instructions of the Spanish government https://www.mscbs.gob.es/ (in Spanish) or on the British Government website at – https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/spain
Coronavirus hotline in Spain
If you think you may be infected, you should isolate yourself. In case your symptoms get worse, call the 112 health emergency number. You can also call your regional hotline:
- Madrid: 900 102 112
- Catalonia: 061
- Aragon: 061
- Balearic Islands: 061
- Asturias: 112
- Extremadura: 112
- Melilla: 112
- Andalucía:955 545 060
- Castilla-La Mancha: 900 122 122
- Comunitat Valenciana: 900 300 555
- La Rioja: 941 298 333
- Castilla y León: 900 222 000
- Galicia: 900 400 116
- Murcia: 900 121 212
- Ceuta: 900 720 692
- Navarra: 948 290 290
- Canary Islands 900 112 061
- Basque Country 900 203 050
- Cantabria: 112 or 061
The UK Ambassador’s message to Brits in Spain
In his video message to expats resident in Spain, the British ambassador to Spain Hugh Elliott urged British nationals to fully comply with the Spanish government’s decree. You can view Ambassador Elliott’s video at www.facebook.com/britsinspain.
UK government advice page
The embassy has also advised British nationals to sign up for alerts to receive the latest travel advice regarding Spain from the British government.
British citizens in France
France is focusing on detecting cases and trying to stop the spread of the virus. Hospitals are delaying non-essential surgical operations to prioritize people suffering from the coronavirus. People returning from China, Iran, Northern regions of Italy, Singapore and South Korea are placed in quarantine.
The French officials keep an up to date page on the coronavirus in France: https://www.gouvernement.fr/en/coronavirus-covid-19. Here you can find government information and announcements, health advice and hotlines numbers that you can use in an emergency or for general enquiries.
Coronavirus hotline in France
If you have questions about COVID-19, call a free hotline service (French only) 0 800 130 000. They can answer your questions about the coronavirus 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They don’t give medical advice.
If you suffer symptoms of respiratory infection within 14 days of your return from an area where the coronavirus is spreading, dial 15, or send a text to 114 if you have a speech or hearing impairment.
UK government advice page on France
For advice from the UK government on travel to or from France, please follow this link: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/france
British expats in Italy
Italy is under lockdown. To travel within the country you need to fill out a form stating your urgent reason to do so: work, health, family or returning home. Falsifying the form could be considered a crime.
Italian Ministry of Health set up a page on coronavirus: http://www.salute.gov.it/nuovocoronavirus
The official advice is if you have a fever, cough or breathing difficulty and suspect you have been in close contact with a person with Covid-19 respiratory disease, stay at home, do not go to the emergency room or medical offices but call your family doctor, paediatrician or medical guard on the phone.
Coronavirus hotlines in Italy
If you think you are infected, there are several options for you:
- Call your family doctor, paediatrician or medical guard on the phone;
- Call regional toll-free numbers
- Use the public utility number 1500 of the Ministry of Health
- Contact 112 or 118 only if only strictly necessary
UK government advice page on Italy
British citizens in Portugal
The Portuguese health authorities page with all the information regarding coronavirus and regular updates: https://covid19.min-saude.pt/
The page also has a frequently asked questions section, materials and videos that inform about the virus and prevention methods.
Travelers returning from the affected areas who have symptoms of coronavirus / COVID-19 should contact the Portuguese health authorities on the SNS24 line (+351) 808 24 24 24 (Press 9 for English) and not physically meet with the health service.
Madeira and the Azores
Madeira authorities closed their ports and marinas for cruise ships from March 13, 2020 and until March 31, 2020. All travelers to the Azores are subject to automatic quarantine upon arrival.
Portugal coronavirus hotline
A hotline has been established for people who have symptoms of coronavirus / COVID-19 and have been in affected areas or been in contact with infected persons. Contact SNS24 at (+351) 808 24 24 24 (Press 9 for English).
The Government is also appealing to those who need information from the Health Line 24, for non-health information, to contact the authorities instead by email.
UK government page on Portugal
British citizens in Cyprus
For information and the latest updates on Coronavirus in Cyprus, visit the website https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/
Coronavirus hotline in Cyprus
If you think you are infected, call the Coronavirus helpline 1420. The Government asks residents to use this number only to report symptoms and not to request information.
UK government page on Cyprus
British citizens in Malta
Maltese residents are urged to stay home as much as possible
Those who have travelled to Italy, China (including Hong Kong), Singapore, Japan and Iran in the past 14 days must self isolate at home. This is mandatory and if not found at home you will be fined €3,000. The quarantine helpline is 2141 1411.
If you think you have contracted the coronavirus, stay indoors. Do not go to Mater Dei, the emergency department, health centres, private clinics, or pharmacies. Call the public health authority’s helpline 111.
Malta coronavirus hotlines
- For advice call: +356 21324086
- The public health authority’s helpline: 111
- The emergency line: 112 (only for emergency)
- The quarantine helpline: 2141 1411
UK government page on Malta
British citizens in Germany
Federal Ministry of Health has put together a page where you can find all the latest information and advice on the coronavirus in Germany:
If you have had personal contact with someone confirmed as carrying the coronavirus, you must contact your regional health office or call the non-emergency medical health number 116 117 and self-isolate at home.
Coronavirus hotline in Germany
- The non-emergency medical health number: 116 117
- The central corona hotline (daily from 8 to 20 o’clock): 030/90282828
- The emergency number: 112
Private health insurance companies have also set up telephone hotlines:
- Barmer: 0800/8484111
- DAK: 040/325325800 (around the clock)
UK government page on Germany
British expats living in other European countries
European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has put together a page containing national information resources on COVID-19. The resources include links to information pages and hotline numbers.