Coronavirus – When to Report an Outbreak

January 20, 2021
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Official advice on what actions you need to take to protect yourself, your employees, your customers and others is continually being updated as the situation changes and local and national regulations are introduced. Sometimes this can lead to differences in the guidance and requirements for different parts of the UK.

Any article that try’s to explain all the different requirements is likely to be out of date as soon as it is published. So it is important that you regularly keep up to date with the news and official guidance for your area / sector.

In the UK, official guidance can be found at:

In most areas, employers are required to report to the local public health authorities if there is an outbreak associated with their workplace, but what is an outbreak? Well, that depends on what part of the UK you are in:

In England, the general guidance is that if there are more than 5 cases of COVID-19 associated with your workplace in 14 days, you should contact your local PHE health protection team to report the suspected outbreak. Further details and sector action cards can be found on Gov.UK.

In Scotland the guidance is organisations should suspect an outbreak if there is either two or more confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the setting within 14 days or an increase in staff absence rates, in a setting, due to suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19. If an organisation suspects a COVID-19 outbreak, they should immediately inform their local NHS board Health Protection Team (HPT). Further details can be found on Gov.Scot.

In Wales, The guidance is: If there is more than one case of COVID-19 associated with your workforce within a 14-day period, you must contact the Public Health wales (PHW) incident management team to report them. Further details can be found on the Gov.Wales website, then search for the closest industry guidance.

Finally, guidance for Northern Ireland can be found at:

Please speak to your normal PIB Risk management contact or get in touch using [email protected] if you have any questions.