Openreach statement regarding Coronavirus (C-19) W1


Communication update

6 March 2020

Update on our planning for the Coronavirus outbreak   

Further to our note last week, we wanted to keep you updated on our planning in the face of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Whilst the number of confirmed cases so far in the UK remains low, England’s Chief Medical Officer has warned of the high risk of the COVID-19 outbreak becoming a full epidemic.

As part of our planning, and in line with guidance from the UK Government on the prevention of the spread of viral infection, we are now introducing some simple steps for our engineering teams whilst visiting end customer premises.

With effect from 9 March, before entering an end customer’s premises* our engineers will be asking two questions, to establish the possible presence of a patient with Coronavirus: 

1.   Has anyone in the premises been diagnosed with COVID-19, has been asked to self-isolate, or has been travelling to a coronavirus high-risk area or country in the last 14 days? 

2.   Is anyone in the premises suffering from flu-like symptoms?

If the answer to the first question is yes, the engineer will contact a special hotline for further advice on how to proceed and to ensure the job is furthered correctly for reappointment by CPs, as and when appropriate.

If the answer to the second question is yes, the engineer will proceed with the job, but will undertake additional hygiene actions.  This includes wiping surfaces, asking the end customer to stay in a different room, to not accept drinks, and on finishing the job to not complete the sign-off with the customer.

If the answer to both questions is no, the job will proceed as normal.

We will engage with industry at SMF and CFPCG next week to review this process in more detail, including how CPs can help through engagement at the initial customer point of contact, and how we serve vulnerable customers.  

We are committed to maintaining all of our services and to continue to carry out appointments in customer premises, wherever possible, but we feel these simple steps will help to ensure the safety of our people and that of the wider community.

The situation is rapidly changing, and we will continue to update you on our plans for dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak as the situation develops. If you have any questions, please contact your account team.


Openreach Communications

*Please note that this will only apply to engineering visits to residential and small business premises, covering volume telephony and broadband products and excluding Ethernet or Optical services.