It has been confirmed that one of the two people who tested positive for coronavirus in the UK is a student at the University of York.
A spokesperson for the university confirmed the news, adding that Public Health England has advised officials at the university that the risk of infection being passed on campus is “low”. The university is open as normal.
In a statement, the university said;
“Further to reports that the two cases of coronavirus diagnosed in England concerned two individuals in York, Public Health England (PHE) have now informed us that one of the two individuals to have tested positive for coronavirus is a student at the University of York. We understand this development will cause concern and anxiety among our students, staff, and the wider community.
Our immediate concerns are for the affected student and family, along with the health and continued wellbeing of our staff, students and visitors.
We are working closely with NHS services and Public Health England who are taking the lead in responding to the case and we will take direction from them in all aspects of this situation.
We want to reassure you that PHE has advised us that the risk of infection being passed to others on campus is low. Current information from PHE suggests that the student did not come into contact with anybody on campus whilst they had symptoms but PHE investigations are ongoing to fully establish this.”
The student is one of two people in the UK confirmed to have the virus. Both persons are part of the same family and are understood to have fallen ill while at the Stay City Apartement Hotel in York. According to reports, the pair recently travelled to the UK from China.
The hotel, which was put into lockdown, has been thoroughly disinfected and now remains open for business with there being a “minimum ongoing risk of infection” according to officials.
The director of the National Infection Service at Public Health England, Professor Sharon Peacock has said that people who have come into close contact with the confirmed cases of the virus in the UK are being traced in an effort to minimise any risk to those people and the wider public. Close contact is being defined by the health authority as being within 2 metres of an infected person for 15 minutes.
The pair infected with the virus are being treated at a specialist hospital unit, the Airborne High Consequences Infectious Disease Centre (HCID) at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) hospital. The NHS Foundation Trust operating the hospital has advised patients and visitors that appointments at the hospital are operating as normal.
The virus outbreak was declared a global emergency by the World Health Organisation on Thursday. At this stage, cases of the virus have been confirmed in at least 25 countries worldwide, but the only deaths from the virus have been in China.
Anyone concerned about the virus in relation to the University of York can phone 01904 809571 or visit the university’s website.