John Snow student tested for coronavirus

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A student at John Snow College was taken to hospital to be tested for coronavirus last night and is currently in self-isolation as a precautionary measure.

In an email sent to John Snow students on Wednesday afternoon, college staff said that the student called 111 after falling ill last night (4th February).

“Given the current heightened sensitivity around the coronavirus, the NHS implemented their precautionary measures and sent two ambulances.

“One of these ambulances was a special response unit and included medics who were wearing appropriate protective clothing. We know that many of our students who live in College witnessed this. 

“The student was taken to hospital for tests and discharged later back into College.”

The email reiterates that there are currently no confirmed cases of the virus at Durham University.

There are currently no confirmed cases of coronavirus at Durham University

The email continues: “They are now following the advice from Public Health England with regard to self-isolation. To make things easier for them, they have moved from the shared flat in which they lived to a self-contained studio room in College.

“The University is in close communication with Public Health England. College staff are also providing welfare support for the students who shared the flat.”

Eyewitness accounts said the ambulances arrived at the college at around 1.40am on Wednesday morning. Footage of the ambulances on-site was taken and posted on Snapchat by other livers-in. 

A planned formal event at the college tonight (Wednesday 5th February) has been cancelled as a result of last night’s incident. The college JCR has promised to reimburse students who have already paid for the event.

Palatinate understands the University is already being contacted by concerned students, who are being provided with a slightly amended version of the quoted email sent to John Snow students.

A planned formal event at the college has been cancelled

The email to John Snow students came on the same day that a leaked letter from Professor Keith Willett, NHS England’s director for acute care, told emergency departments in all hospitals in England to have isolated ‘assessment pods’ ready for use by the end of the week. 

At the time of writing, the coronavirus has infected around 25,000 people around the world – the vast majority of which are in mainland China and Hong Kong – and resulted in almost 500 deaths.

The incident comes less than a week after the first confirmed cases of the virus in the UK. A student at the University of York and one of their relatives were moved from York to be treated at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary hospital. 

“We are monitoring the Coronavirus situation closely.”

Professor Claire O’Malley, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Global)

In a statement, Professor Claire O’Malley, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Global) said: The health and wellbeing of our students is our upmost priority and we are monitoring the Coronavirus situation closely.

“We are reminding our students to maintain good hand, respiratory and personal hygiene and to follow Public Health England advice.

“If you’re worried about yourself or a fellow student, please contact the dedicated support staff in your college.”

Official public health advice from the government recommends always carrying tissues and using them to catch coughs and sneezes, regularly washing hands with soap and water, and using sanitiser gel to kill germs.

Photo: Durham University via flickr

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