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Coronavirus diagnosis leaves pupils in isolation from Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School in Faversham

A number of pupils at a Kent school are in isolation after it was confirmed a family member is fighting coronavirus.

Bosses at Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School in Faversham have revealed an individual - believed to be a parent - has been diagnosed with the potentially deadly disease, now named Covid-19.

Pupils from Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School in Faversham are in isolation after a family member was diagnosed with coronavirus
Pupils from Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School in Faversham are in isolation after a family member was diagnosed with coronavirus

Head teacher David Anderson has written to parents today, at the same time as Maidstone Studios confirmed an employee at one of its businesses has contracted the virus.

It is not yet known if the two cases involve the same person - but the Department of Health says there is one confirmed diagnosis in Kent.

Mr Anderson said in his letter: "We are contacting you to advise that we have today been informed that a family member of some of our students has been diagnosed with coronavirus.

"The students affected are self-isolating and will continue to do so over a 14-day period, although it is worth noting they have not displayed any symptoms and are currently well.

"The individual who has been diagnosed is also now recovering well. There is a further student who has had direct contact with the individual and they too are self-isolating.

"Furthermore, there are a number of students who have not had direct contact but who have had contact with some of the family members or through association with friends and acquaintances, who are either self-isolating as a precautionary measure, or are following PHE advice."

The letter was sent out at the same time of the confirmed case at Maidstone Studios.

The employee, who had recently returned from Italy, was in the building last week and tested positive yesterday.

An email to staff at the Grove Green site, seen by KentOnline, said: "We have been advised this morning by one of our tenants that a member of their staff tested positive for the coronavirus yesterday evening.

"The member of staff had been in the building last week.

Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School head teacher David Anderson
Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School head teacher David Anderson

"They are monitoring the situation carefully and we have just been told that their staff have been advised to self-isolate as a precaution.

"We will be in touch as soon as we have any further information."

The site opened in 1982 and describes itself as the largest independent TV studios and has been used to film Supermarket Sweep, Take Me Out and Trisha and was also the scene of the leaders debate, when Jeremy Corbyn took on Boris Johnson.

It also home to 40 businesses.

Italy, where the patient had returned from, is at the centre of Europe's outbreak and has recorded more than 1,000 cases of the virus, which has killed 3,000 and infected 90,000 globally. The mortality rate is estimated at 1%, whereas influenza is 0.1%.

The Department of Health confirmed just after 2pm that 13,525 people had been tested, with 13,485 negative and 40 positive, up from 36 yesterday.

All four new patients have returned from Italy and live in Hertfordshire, Devon and Kent.

Specialists from Public Health England (PHE) are working with Kent County Council and NHS colleagues following a confirmed case of coronavirus in Kent.

The case is now in a treatment centre in London.

Covid-19 originated in Wuhan
Covid-19 originated in Wuhan

Dr James Mapstone, Acting Regional Director, Public Health England South of England, said: “Public Health England is contacting people who had close contact with one of the latest confirmed cases of COVID-19. The case is a resident of Kent and had recently travelled to Italy. Close contacts will be given health advice about symptoms and emergency contact details to use if they become unwell in the 14 days after contact with the confirmed case. This tried and tested method will ensure we are able to minimise any risk to them and the wider public.”

Kent County Council’s Director of Public Health, Andrew Scott-Clark, said: “I’d like to reassure people that the risk to the general public remains low and we are working with health colleagues to do everything we can to stop the virus spreading and ensure the people of Kent are protected.

“If you have not been contacted by Public Health England as a close contact of the confirmed case you do not need to take any action at this time.”

Health and local authorities are appealing for people to follow national Government guidance to prevent further spread of the illness and limit the numbers affected.

This guidance includes taking basic hygiene precautions as the best way of significantly reducing the chances of spreading any virus: sneeze or cough into a tissue, bin it, wash your hands frequently and don’t touch your face unless you’ve just washed your hands.

Mr Scott-Clark added: “These are the same simple steps we all should be taking to avoid other illnesses such as flu which is also prevalent during the winter and it is important that residents help protect themselves and others.

“If you have recently travelled to an affected area or been in contact with someone who has, and you think you have symptoms associated with the coronavirus, you should not go to A&E or your doctor but self-isolate yourself at home and ring NHS 111 which has an online coronavirus service that can tell if you need medical help and advise you what to do.”

The symptoms include a cough, a high temperature and shortness of breath.

It comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson held an emergency COBRA meeting this morning about the virus. After the two-hour briefing he said the country was "very, very prepared" and that more information will be released tomorrow.

To keep up-to-date with all the latest developments with your local hospitals and other health stories, click here

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