One of two patients in England with coronavirus is York University student

Will Taylor
News Reporter
Part of the main campus at the University of York. (PA Images)

One of the two patients in England who tested positive for coronavirus is a student at the University of York.

The university remains open and is carrying on as usual, Charlie Jeffery, the vice-chancellor said today.

“Public Health England has advised us that the risk of the infection being passed to others on campus is low,” he said at a press conference on Saturday afternoon.

“The university is open and will continue to operate normally.”

He added: “I want to reiterate to students, staff, parents and visitors that we’re working with our partners across the city to ensure that York and the university remain a safe and welcoming place to live, work and visit.”

He said the university is monitoring developments closely, will provide advice and care to anyone affected, and he urged anyone with concerns to visit the university’s website.

Earlier today, a spokesman for the University of York said: “If people have any concerns about their health in relation to suspected coronavirus we ask that they follow current PHE advice and contact NHS 111.

“The university has set up a call centre over the weekend for anyone who has any further concerns or enquiries. The telephone number is 01904 809571.”

The two people who were announced on Friday as having tested positive for coronavirus - the first confirmed cases in the UK - are being treated at a specialist facility in Newcastle.

They are both members of the same family.

Public Health England is contacting people who had close contact – defined as being within two metres of the infected person for 15 minutes – with the pair.

University of York Students’ Union president Samara Jones said “many students” are likely to be worried by the news.

She said: “The student community at York is a tight-knit, global community and we will continue to support one another at this time.”

Ms Jones said the union would work with the university and health authorities to provide updates when available.

She added: “I would encourage students with any questions to keep an eye on the university website for any developments and key information. Our dedicated helpline will remain open over the weekend.”

The university spokesman added: “We understand this development will cause concern and anxiety among our students, staff, and the wider community.

“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 investigations are ongoing to fully establish this.

“Our immediate concerns are for the affected student and family, along with the health and continued wellbeing of our staff, students and visitors.”

British nationals arrive at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire. (SWNS)

On Friday, 83 British people arrived back from a repatriation flight from Wuhan.

They are due to be quarantined at a facility on the Wirral.

Meanwhile, the number of deaths in China confirmed to 259 from 213 on Friday morning.