Broadcasters Nick Robinson and Jon Snow forced to self-isolate amid Coronavirus fears

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by Josh Peachey

BBC Radio 4’s Nick Robinson and the Channel 4 News presenter Jon Snow have been forced to self-isolate as part of Coronavirus precautions.

Robinson, who presents the Today programme, said his decision to stay at home came after a “routine precautionary check on doctors’ advice” following a holiday in Vietnam and Cambodia. He said NHS staff told him to stay at home until the end of the week. 

A World Health Organization report on the Covid-19 outbreak, issued on Wednesday morning, said that there were 16 confirmed cases in Vietnam and one in Cambodia.

Nick Robinson tweeted: “Thoughts go to all those on NHS frontline working to keep us safe from Coronavirus. Thanks to staff at WhitHealth who tested me last night on return from great holiday in Vietnam & Cambodia. Routine precautionary check on doctors advice. Hope for all clear within 48 hours.”

Elsewhere in the broadcasting landscape, Sky News has told staff that guests entering its properties must give a formal declaration that they have not recently been to any infected area.

Tuesday night saw Jon Snow announcing his precautionary self-isolation for two weeks after visiting Iran to cover the country’s election. His producer and cameraman are also self-isolating after the trip to Iran.

The country has been badly hit by the virus in recent days, with even the deputy health minister announcing he was infected.

Snow, who said he did not have any symptoms of the virus, told Channel 4 News by video-link from home: “I woke up this morning feeling rather tired, but that was from the trip. But we weren’t actually anywhere near where the main virus outbreak has occurred.”

Foreign reporters pose a particular risk as they have a high level of travel involved in their jobs. They also have the potential to introduce the virus to other journalists who could head off to other global locations.

Other news organisations are preparing contingency plans for dealing with the virus.