Schools don’t need to close over suspected cases of coronavirus

As reported by BBC news, Public Health England will say no restrictions or special control measures are needed while tests are carried out on a suspected case, meaning schools do not need to close or send staff and pupils home if there is a suspected case of coronavirus

If a case is confirmed, health protection teams will speak to the head teacher and action will be taken. PHE is expected to issue the new guidance later.

It comes a week after at least seven schools in Brighton, Hove and Eastbourne were understood to have told parents that either a staff member or pupil has been advised to stay at home for 14 days by PHE. Schools messaged parents saying they would authorise absences for families wishing to self-isolate.

The Department of Health said on Sunday that 3,109 tests have been carried out in the UK so far, with nine positive results.

This is an increase of 117 tests on the 2,992 reported on Saturday.

Eight of those who contracted the virus have since been discharged from hospital after recording two negative tests for the strain known as Covid-19.

All 94 people who had been in quarantine at Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral have also been released, NHS England said on Saturday.

They had been kept in isolation at the hospital after returning to the UK from Wuhan in China, the centre of the outbreak.

More than 100 people remain in isolation in Milton Keynes after being repatriated back to the UK on a later rescue flight.

But Britons on board the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan have accused the government of “forgetting” about them after other countries confirmed they were bringing their citizens home.

David Abel called for the government to evacuate the British citizens on board and added: “It feels that we have been forgotten.” Abel’s call comes as it emerged passengers could be stuck in quarantine beyond the initial 19 February deadline. So far, 355 of the 3,700 people on board the ship have tested positive for the virus.

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A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: “We sympathise with all those caught up in this extremely difficult situation.

“We are urgently considering all options to guarantee the health and safety of the British people on board the Diamond Princess, in line with the latest advice from the chief medical officer and the World Health Organization, and are working closely with the Japanese authorities and our international partners.”

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