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February 26, 2020updated 30 Sep 2022 8:58am

Channel 4’s Jon Snow in self-isolation as journalists take coronavirus precautions

By Charlotte Tobitt

Channel 4 News presenter Jon Snow has gone into self-isolation for two weeks after returning from reporting in Iran, which has seen an outbreak of the coronavirus.

Snow’s producer and cameraman will also stay at home for 14 days after the team spent about five days in Iran to cover the country’s parliamentary election last Friday.

None of the team are currently showing any coronavirus symptoms and they did not travel near the worst-affected areas of Iran, where 15 people have been reported killed by the virus.

BBC journalist Nick Robinson is also currently in self-isolation for two days after returning home from a holiday in Vietnam and Cambodia.

He is hoping for the all-clear from doctors after being tested for coronavirus last night.

The journalists have all followed precautionary guidelines from the Department of Health on how travellers who return to the UK from countries affected by coronavirus should respond.

They state that anyone who has returned from Iran, specific areas of Northern Italy and South Korea, or Hubei province in China since 19 February should stay indoors and avoid contact with other people, even if they are not showing any symptoms.

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Anyone who has travelled from Vietnam or Cambodia should do the same only if they develop any symptoms, even if they are very mild.

Speaking to Channel 4 News by videolink from his North London flat last night, Snow said he had woken up feeling “rather tired” but blamed this on the trip itself rather than feeling unwell.

Asked if he felt worried, he said: “To be absolutely honest the enormity of the prospect of 14 days [in isolation] hasn’t really hit me.

“I’ve been doing things to catch up, things that I needed to catch up on having been in Iran and all the rest of it, and I haven’t really had time to work out how in fact I’m going to handle this.

“I must admit that I’m not very good with my own company, I’m a very gregarious character – that’s why I like working at Channel 4 News which is a big happy, or mostly happy, team and therefore it will be very, very strange and maybe if you call me again in 14 days you’ll find a headcase on your hands.”

Fifteen people have now died from coronavirus in Iran, the biggest death toll outside China where the outbreak originated.

Meanwhile all 16 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Vietnam have been cured, while Cambodia has been criticised over its response to the outbreak but has only had one confirmed case.

Robinson, who presents BBC Radio 4’s flagship Today programme, tweeted this morning: “Thoughts go to all those on NHS frontline working to keep us safe from coronavirus.

“Thanks to staff at Whittington Health NHS Trust  who tested me last night on return from great holiday in Vietnam and Cambodia. Routine precautionary check on doctors advice. Hope for all clear within 48 hours.”

Robinson then asked for recommendations of things to watch or read while he stays at home for his two days of self isolation.

A BBC News spokesperson said the organisation was “totally compliant” with medical advice all over the world and was taking precautions advised by the World Health Organisation, UK and Chinese authorities.

They added that they are in daily contact with the BBC’s foreign correspondents about their safety and that internal advice has been sent to all BBC News staff.

Spokespeople for Guardian News and Media and Reach told Press Gazette they were monitoring the situation and are directing staff to follow official guidance.

Journalists at the Mail, Metro and Independent titles, all of which are based in the same building in Kensington, west London, walked in to find bottles of hand sanitiser and packs of tissues on their desks this week.

Financial Times journalists have also been provided with protective equipment including hand sanitiser, while any staff returning from a Category 1 country – namely Iran and parts of China, Italy and South Korea – have been told to work from home for 14 days.

Picture: Channel 4 News/Screenshot

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