Visit Belfast is closely monitoring the evolving situation regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. We are aware this is a global issue affecting travel and tourism on an international scale and we are working closely with our partners Tourism Northern Ireland, Tourism Ireland, Northern Ireland Tourism Alliance, Belfast City Council and industry bodies to provide the best advice and support when we have it.
What is the situation in Belfast?
Under new emergency legislation, people in Northern Ireland are advised to stay indoors and only go outside to shop for basic necessities, one form of exercised or essential work.
For the most up to date information, advice and guidance, visit:
- NI Direct: gov.uk/campaigns/coronavirus-covid-19
- Department of Health: health-ni.gov.uk/news
- Public Health Agency: hscni.net/news/covid-19-coronavirus
The Public Health Agency is working with partners across the UK including Public Health England, the Department of Health and health trusts in Northern Ireland and in the Republic of Ireland, on the ongoing response to coronavirus health crisis.
Travelling to Belfast
The UK government is advising against non-essential travel and as a result of flight cancellations, inbound travel to Northern Ireland may become limited. We recommend checking with your airline, tour operator, cruise line or other transport providers to find out if your travel plans have been affected.
The Visit Belfast Welcome Centre and airport tourist information desks are now closed until further notice. We are still providing vital information services on our website, and visitors can email queries to email@example.com or telephone 02890246609. You can also tweet your queries using #AskVisitBelfast.
Visitors should also be aware that a number of visitor attractions, theatres, restaurants and pubs may be closed as a result of the outbreak. You can up to date with closures on visitbelfast.com or by contacting the Visit Belfast Welcome Centre on the details above.
Advice for Visitors Currently in Belfast
Visitors who have concerns while here in Northern Ireland should contact the special coronavirus helpline on 0300 200 7885.
If it is a medical emergency, call 999 and inform the call handler of your recent travel.
If you are NOT registered with a GP in Northern Ireland, you’ll find important information available via the NI Direct website which you should refer to.
Advice for Industry Partners
Public Health Advice
The same advice for the seasonal flu applies for coronavirus: if you cough or sneeze, use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose, throw it away carefully after use, and wash your hands.
Stay at home if you have coronavirus symptoms, either:
- A high temperature – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
- A new, continuous cough – this means you’ve started coughing repeatedly
Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you’re staying at home. Testing for coronavirus is not needed if you’re staying at home.
How long to stay at home:
If you have symptoms, stay at home for seven days. If you live with other people, they should stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms (new advice as of 16 March 2020). For more information on public health advice and self-isolating go to publichealth.hscni.net.
The UK government is also advising everyone to take social distancing measures. Social distancing measures are steps you can take to reduce the social interaction between people. This will help reduce the transmission of coronavirus.
- Avoiding contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus, including a high temperature or new and continuous cough
- Avoiding non-essential use of public transport
- Working from home, where possible
- Avoiding large gatherings and gatherings in smaller public spaces such as pubs, cinemas, restaurants, theatres, bars, clubs
- Avoid gatherings with friends and family
- Use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential service
For full advice on social distancing, go to gov.uk.
What is Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common across the world. These viruses can cause mild symptoms ranging from a fever and cough to more serious conditions such as severe pneumonia, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In December 2019, a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) was first identified in Wuhan City, China. This virus has now spread to other countries.