Coronavirus: Brittany Ferries cancels some sailings between Portsmouth, France and Spain amid Covid-19 outbreak
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Spain is Europe's worst-hit country by coronavirus behind Italy, with 191 recorded deaths and 6,046 confirmed cases of the virus.
A plan is being finalised which will only allow people there to go out for emergencies, to work or buy food.
Cafes, restaurants, cinemas and most shops are now shut in France too, where there have been 91 recorded deaths as a result of Covid-19.
Brittany Ferries, a big player at Portsmouth International Port, said it must ‘respond quickly’ and admitted ‘many' of its all-French crew may soon be unable to work while they self-isolate or care for loved ones.
The firm said: ‘The changes to our schedules are therefore designed to ensure sufficient crew are available to operate as many services as possible, while responding to the dynamic political situation in Spain.
‘And of course making sure we take all measures necessary to protect our passengers and crew at this difficult time.’
Brittany Ferries confirmed all but two of its sailings between Portsmouth and Le Havre, France have cancelled between March 17 and April 8.
The duo which will run are Thursday’s Portsmouth to Le Havre at 11pm and Friday's Le Havre to Portsmouth at 1pm.
Meanwhile the company has cancelled seven sailings between Portsmouth and Santander, Spain:
- March 17: Portsmouth to Santander at 5.15pm
- March 23: Santander to Portsmouth 3.15pm
- March 24: Portsmouth to Santander at 5.15pm
- March 30: Santander to Portsmouth 3.15pm
- March 31: Portsmouth to Santander 5.15pm
- April 6: Santander to Portsmouth 3.15pm
- April 7: Portsmouth to Santander 5.15pm
Latest advice from the The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, updated today, advises against all travel to Spain because of the restrictions put in place by government.
Despite this, Brittany Ferries said all its services between Portsmouth and Bilbao are operating as normal.
It has cancelled its sailings to Cherbourg until April 30.
Journeys to Caen and St Malo will continue, the firm’s latest update indicates.
Coronavirus: the facts, from the NHS and the World Health Organisation
What is coronavirus?
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can affect lungs and airways. It is caused by a virus called coronavirus.
What caused coronavirus?
The outbreak started in Wuhan in China in December 2019 and it is thought that the virus, like others of its kind, has come from animals.
How is it spread?
As this is such a new illness, experts still aren’t sure how it is spread. But.similar viruses are spread in cough droplets.
Therefore covering your nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing, and disposing of used tissues straight away is advised.
Viruses like coronavirus cannot live outside the body for very long.
What are the symptoms?
The NHS states that the symptoms are: a dry cough, high temperature and shortness of breath - but these symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness.
Look out for flu-like symptoms, such as aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose and a sore throat.
It’s important to remember that some people may become infected but won’t develop any symptoms or feel unwell.
What precautions can be taken?
Washing your hands with soap and water thoroughly.
The NHS also advises to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze; put used tissues in the bin immediately and try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
Also avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth unless your hands are clean.
Should I avoid public places?
Most people who feel well can continue to go to work, school and public places and should only stay at home and self isolate if advised by a medical professional or the coronavirus service.
What should I do if I feel unwell?
Don’t go to your GP but instead call NHS 111 or look online at the coronavirus service that can tell you if you need medical help and what to do next.
When to call NHS 111
NHS 111 should be used if you feel unwell with coronavirus symptoms, have been in a country with a high risk of coronavirus in the last 14 days or if you have been in close contact with someone with the virus.