Coronavirus: Private school shut as pupil’s family put in isolation


A private school has been closed today after the family of some of their pupils were put in isolation over fears they may have contracted coronavirus.

St Mary’s Independent School in Southampton, Hampshire, which charges up to ¬£10,500 a year, is currently on lockdown after they showed symptoms of the killer virus.

The school has announced it will be shut for the next three days while a ‘deep clean’ is undertaken.

Headteacher Claire Charlemagne told parents that a family with children in both the prep and senior departments of the school had developed symptoms after recently travelling to the area of China most affected.

After being seen by doctors at the nearby Southampton General Hospital, they have now been placed in isolation.

It came as patients at County Oak medical centre in Brighton, where a member of staff tested positive for coronavirus are being urgently traced today as four people in the city were confirmed to have the killer virus Рtaking the total number of confirmed cases in Britain to eight.

In a statement today headteacher Ms Charlemagne said: ‘I am sorry to inform you that a family with children at the prep and senior departments who have recently travelled to the region affected by coronavirus have developed symptoms similar to those presenting with the coronavirus, and having been checked by medical professionals at Southampton General Hospital have been placed in isolation.

Headteacher of St Mary's Independent School in Southampton, Hampshire (pictured) Claire Charlemagne told parents that a family with children in both the prep and senior departments of the school had developed symptoms

Headteacher of St Mary’s Independent School in Southampton, Hampshire (pictured) Claire Charlemagne told parents that a family with children in both the prep and senior departments of the school had developed symptoms

Brighton GP surgery the County Oak Medical Centre has been closed today for 'urgent operational health and safety reasons' after a member of staff tested positive for the killer coronavirus

Brighton GP surgery the County Oak Medical Centre has been closed today for ‘urgent operational health and safety reasons’ after a member of staff tested positive for the killer coronavirus

‘As a school, our first priority is to keep our children and community safe.

‘We have taken advice on this situation from Public Health England and the Natural Health Service.

WHAT IS A SUPER SPREADER? 

Patients infected with the killer Wuhan coronavirus are thought to infect up to 2.6 people, infectious disease specialists estimate.

But some patients pass it on to a disproportionately higher number than that. 

A person’s behaviour may contribute to them becoming a super spreader.¬†¬†

Someone who travels a lot has a greater chance of becoming one because they come into contact with many people in a number of countries.

International businessmen and women are therefore at risk.

This appears to be the case with the British businessman who travelled from Singapore to the French Alps and back to the UK. 

The unnamed middle-aged man is thought to have infected at least 11 people. 

Another suspected super spreader in the current outbreak is a man believed to have infected 14 workers at a hospital in Wuhan, China. 

But in other cases it is not always clear why a person can become a super spreader.

Scientists say some people may ‘shed’¬†more of the virus into the environment by coughing or sneezing as their immune system tries to get rid of it.¬†

Super spreading is not a new phenomenon. 

In 2012, a Mers-coronavirus patient returned led to 82 people becoming infected after returning from Saudi Arabia to South Korea. 

Irish cook Mary Mallon (1869-1938) was dubbed ‘Typhoid Mary’ after passing the disease to 51 people in the US when she had no symptoms.¬†¬†¬†¬†

‘We have been advised that we need to take all steps reasonably practicable to prevent the spread of this virus.

‘We have therefore taken the decision to close the school immediately in order to undertake a thorough deep clean, and to allow any potential traces of the virus to be removed.

‘We will close today, tomorrow, and Wednesday.’

The school educates 250 pupils aged between three and 16. Noted alumni include award-winning author Philip Hoare, Kew Gardens director Richard Deverell and Vodafone CEO Sir Gerry Whent.

The school is based on 17 acres of land and its website says it provides a ‘warm and caring environment where pupils achieve some of the best results in the country.’

It was established in 1922 by the Brothers of Christian Instruction and is connected to more than 124 sister schools in 26 countries across the world.  

Meanwhile County Oak medical centre has been¬†shut down, sealed off and is being cleaned by a team in hazmat suits this afternoon ‘because of an urgent operational health and safety reason’.

A member of staff has tested positive for coronavirus but the NHS has refused to say what the person’s position is and how many patients they came into contact with.

Dr Catriona Saynor, who owns¬†the¬†chalet in the Alps where the British ‘super-spreader’ stayed two weeks ago, was a partner there until last summer but works there as a locum, according to the medical centre’s website.¬†

Her environmental consultant husband Bob and their nine-year-old son are under observation in a French hospital after being exposed the virus by their guest during a skiing trip Рbut it is not yet confirmed if Dr Saynor is in Britain or in France.

It is feared the staff member came into contact with a British ‘super spreader’, who is believed to have infected at least 11 others on a French ski holiday.¬†

Five new patients ‚Äď four men and a woman ‚Äď were diagnosed with the deadly SARS-like infection in Brighton over the weekend and transferred to specialist hospitals in London¬†to be treated in quarantine for 14 days.¬†

A note on the front of the County Oak Medical Centre in Brighton saying the surgery has been closed for 'operational difficulties'

A note on the front of the County Oak Medical Centre in Brighton saying the surgery has been closed for ‘operational difficulties’

The team in protective clothing was also seen cleaning seats in the waiting area of the the GP surgery where Dr Catriona Saynor once worked and is believed to return as a locum 'from time to time'

The team in protective clothing was also seen cleaning seats in the waiting area of the the GP surgery where¬†Dr Catriona Saynor once worked and is believed to return as a locum ‘from time to time’

County Oak medical centre in Brighton has been shut down, sealed off and is being cleaned by a team in hazmat suits this afternoon 'because of an urgent operational health and safety reason'.

County Oak medical centre in Brighton has been shut down, sealed off and is being cleaned by a team in hazmat suits this afternoon ‘because of an urgent operational health and safety reason’.

UK GOVERNMENT WILL ‘FORCIBLY QUARANTINE ANY PATIENTS WITH SUSPECTED CORONAVIRUS’

Suspected coronavirus patients will now be forcibly quarantined after a man staying at an isolation facility following his evacuation from Wuhan two weeks ago threatened to walk out.

The patient staying at Arrowe Park hospital on The Wirral told medics he was going to leave before completing 14 days of quarantine after his return from the Chinese city, MailOnline understands.

Government sources said those who returned to the UK on the evacuation flights on January 31 were given a ‘very clear choice’ and had to sign contracts saying they would remain in isolation for a fortnight.

It came as the Department of Health today declared the outbreak a ‘serious and imminent’ threat to the British public as it announced new powers to fight the spread.¬†Anyone infected with the¬†virus will now be kept in quarantine for their own safety and will be forced into isolation if they pose a threat to public health.¬†¬†

A source told MailOnline: ‘We found we didn’t have the necessary enforcement powers to make sure they didn’t leave.

The source said the phrase ‘serious and imminent threat’ in the regulation was needed to trigger the powers, and at the moment the risk to the public is still regarded as ‘moderate’.¬†We’re saying we are having to take action to prevent it becoming a serious and imminent threat.’

The first Britons evacuated from Wuhan will have completed 14 days in quarantine on Saturday, MailOnline understands. 

All of the patients were ‘known contacts’ of a businessman from neighbouring Hove, who became the UK’s third case last Friday after picking up the virus at a work conference in Singapore.¬†

They are all believed to have been staying in the same chalet in Les Contamines-Montjoie, close to Mont Blanc.

The six others who have fallen ill since holidaying with the ‘super-spreader’ include five more Britons being cared for in a French hospital and a father-of-two British expat who flew home to Majorca where he became ill.

Police have today been given the power to seize people trying to escape coronavirus quarantine and force them back into isolation in handcuffs, the government has announced.

A new law was hurriedly brought into force after a patient staying at Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral reportedly tried to leave before completing the 14-day stay after his return from China.

Government sources said those who returned to the UK on the evacuation flights on January 31 were given a ‘very clear choice’ and had to sign contracts saying they would remain in isolation for a fortnight.

But a source involved with the Arrowe Park incident said: ‘We found we didn’t have the necessary enforcement powers to make sure they didn’t leave.’

Police will now be able to force people to remain in the units and, if they leave, to arrest them for committing an offence and take them back to the quarantine facility, MailOnline understands.

The new rule comes as England today announced its fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth cases of the virus in Brighton ‚Äď all of the three men and a woman are linked to the fourth patient, who has now been dubbed a ‘super-spreader’.

A total of five people have now been diagnosed in Brighton. The four new cases have been linked to the first man who was diagnosed there after returning from the Alps

Arrowe Park Hospital, the isolation facility in The Wirral, where Britons evacuated from Wuhan in China have been staying

Arrowe Park Hospital, the isolation facility in The Wirral, where Britons evacuated from Wuhan in China have been staying

The fourth patient was a businessman who returned to the UK from a conference in Singapore via a ski chalet in France, where other Britons were subsequently taken ill with the virus.

The Britons infected with coronavirus – and the patients ill in the UK

Cases in the UK and where they are being cared for:

Newcastle: Two Chinese nationals who came to the UK with coronavirus and fell ill while on the tourist trail in York. They were the first two cases on British soil and confirmed on January 31.

London:  The first British coronavirus victim has become known as a super-spreader. He picked up the virus in Singapore Рbut flew for a ski break in France afterwards where he appears to have infected at least 11 people.  

Dr Catriona Saynor, who owns the chalet with her husband Ben, is feared to be the fourth patient in the UK diagnosed with Coronavirus. Her husband remained in France but she flew to Britain and is in hospital in the UK, according to the Telegraph. It is not yet confirmed if Dr Saynor is in Britain or in France.

Four more people¬†in Brighton were diagnosed over the weekend and confirmed as cases today. They were all ‘known contacts’ of the super-spreader and are thought to have stayed in the same French resort.¬†

Total in UK hospitals: Eight patients. Six Britons and two Chinese nationals 

British expats and holidaymakers outside the UK and where they are being cared for:

Majorca: A British father-of-two who stayed in the ski resort tested positive after returning to his home in Majorca. His wife and children are not ill.

France: Five people who were in the chalet with the super-spreader. These include the chalet’s owner, environmental consultant Bob Saynor, 48, and his nine-year-old son. They are all in a French hospital with three unnamed others.¬†Dr Catriona Saynor is in Britain.

Japan: A British man on board a cruise ship docked at a port in Japan tested positive for coronavirus, Princess Cruises said. Alan Steele, from Wolverhampton, posted on Facebook that he had been diagnosed with the virus. Steele said he was not showing any symptoms but was being taken to hospital. He was on his honeymoon.

Total: Seven

The Department of Health today declared¬†the outbreak ‚Äď which has infected more than 40,000 and killed 910 people ‚Äď a ‘serious and imminent’ threat to the British public.¬†

On Twitter, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘Clinical advice has not changed about the risk to the public, which remains moderate.

‘We are taking a belt and braces approach to all necessary precautions to ensure public safety.

‘The transmission of coronavirus would constitute a serious threat – so I am taking action to protect the public and isolate those at risk of spreading the virus.’

A statement on the Department of Health website says: ‘In accordance with Regulation 3, the Secretary of State declares that the incidence or transmission of novel coronavirus constitutes a serious and imminent threat to public health, and the measures outlined in these regulations are considered as an effective means of delaying or preventing further transmission of the virus.’

Arrowe Park Hospital and Kents Hill Park in Milton Keynes, both of which are housing Britons who have returned from Wuhan, are now designated ‘isolation facilities’, according to the Government.

Meanwhile, another plane carrying people evacuated from Wuhan landed at RAF Brize Norton on Sunday morning, with people then taken to Kents Hill Park for 14 days of quarantine.

Elsewhere, there are now 130 confirmed cases of coronavirus on the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship in the port of Yokohama, Japan’s health minister said.

British honeymooner Alan Steele, who was transferred from the cruise liner to hospital in Japan with coronavirus, was said to be feeling well and in good spirits over the weekend.

In the UK, a University of York student and their relative are still being treated at the Royal Victoria Infirmary infectious diseases centre in Newcastle.

There have been more than 40,000 cases of the virus globally, mostly in China, while the death toll in China now stands at 908.

Of the latest four cases diagnosed in England on Monday, Dr Nick Phin, deputy director of the National Infection Service at Public Health England, said: ‘These new cases are all closely linked and were rapidly identified through Public Health England’s comprehensive contact tracing approach and tested quickly.’¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†



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