Coronavirus hits Oxford University: Student tests positive

Coronavirus hits Oxford University: Student tests positive for deadly bug after returning from overseas travel, confirms Public Health England

  • The student is believed to have self-isolated as soon as they had symptoms 
  • Oxford University said there is a low risk to other staff and students there 
  • Student is being offered ‘all necessary support’ and events will continue 
  • Comes as hazmat team go into student accommodation at Edinburgh University 

A student at Oxford University has tested positive for the coronavirus after returning from overseas travel.

Public Health England confirmed the case to the university yesterday and the Vice-Chancellor informed staff in an internal email seen by the MailOnline.

In the email Professor Louise Richardson claimed she was ‘constrained as to what she could say’ but was ‘glad to report’ that the student self-isolated as soon as they developed symptoms and did not attend university or college events after they fell ill. 

So far in the UK there have been 209 confirmed cases of the disease and two deaths. 

On the university’s website, it states that the risk to other staff and students is ‘very low and that university and college activities can continue as normal’.  

A general view of Oxford University above. The Radcliffe Camera, above, serves as a reading room

The university did not reveal what country the student had travelled from but said its immediate concerns were for the affected student and their family, along with the health and wellbeing of university staff, students and visitors.  

‘It has been established that the affected student did not attend any university or college events after they felt ill, when they subsequently self-isolated.

‘As a result, PHE has advised that the risk to other students and staff is very low and that university and college activities can continue as normal. They have also advised that the university and colleges do not need to take any additional public health actions in the light of this specific case.

‘We have worked with PHE to make sure that anyone who was in contact with the student after they fell ill have been notified and that they are able to access support and information as needed. PHE do not consider individuals infectious until they develop symptoms.’

It added that the university is taking the situation ‘very seriously’ and said support would be available for those with any concerns, adding that they would share any further updates of the infection as appropriate.  

In an internal note seen by MailOnline Vice-Chancellor Richardson added that the university had been advised that it does not need to take any additional public health actions in light of the case.

‘We have anticipated this eventuality and have been preparing for it for some weeks now. Moreover, given the rate of infection across the country, there will in all likelihood be other cases’.

The case at Oxford University comes as a hazmat team were last night pictured going into a student accommodation building at the University of Edinburgh. 

Two people dressed in hazmat suits were seen going into a student accommodation block at Edinburgh University  

Two ambulances were also seen parked outside of the university accommodation last night

Two officers were seen in the suits on campus, and two emergency response vehicles were also parked outside.

A witness told MailOnline that they had arrived at the campus at around 7pm last night. 

It is not yet clear why the team was at the campus.

The Department of Health confirmed that cases of the virus in mainland Britain rose by 42 early on Saturday, before officials in Northern Ireland revealed another three cases on Saturday evening.

Overall, there are 184 confirmed cases in England, 16 in Scotland, seven in Northern Ireland and two in Wales.

MailOnline has contacted Oxford University and Edinburgh University.  

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