Coronavirus: Parent with virus causes Buxton school closure

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image copyrightAFP / Oli Scarff
image captionThe school said the decision to close was made independently of health officials

A school in Derbyshire has closed after a confirmed case of coronavirus "amongst its parent population".

Burbage Primary School, in Buxton, will be closed until Monday after a precautionary deep clean was carried out.

A medical centre less than a mile from the school has also closed due to a "confirmed case of coronavirus".

Public Health England (PHE) confirmed it was one of two new cases announced by the government earlier.

Dr Fu-Meng Khaw, from PHE East Midlands, said the person had become infected while in Tenerife.

"There is currently no information to suggest that there is any increased health risk to any pupils or staff at the school and no public health reason to remain closed at the current time," he added.

Zoe Milly Jones told the BBC she saw several ambulances go to a property in the town, at about 22:45 GMT on Wednesday, before paramedics in hazard-style white suits helped a person into one of them.

She said the ambulances then left the scene with their blue lights on.

image copyrightZoe Milly Jones
image captionZoe Milly Jones posted a video on Twitter of a convoy of ambulances in Buxton

BBC Radio Derby reporter Matt Barlow, who has a son at the school, said parents were alerted to the closure on Wednesday night and another update was sent out earlier.

It said the parent had been on holiday without the child and the pupil had attended school - which has 350 pupils - on Monday and Tuesday.

When the parent told the school they had travelled to an affected area, a decision was taken to keep the child off school on Wednesday.

The school was then informed on Wednesday evening the parent's condition had worsened and it was decided a full closure was necessary.

Buxton Medical Practice has also closed and its answerphone message currently says: "We have a confirmed case of the coronavirus.

"We are liaising with Public Health England and the CCG to ensure all appropriate actions are taken. Please do not come to the practice."

NHS Derby and Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group said the practice would reopen on Friday and "patients will be advised if their appointment needs to be rearranged".

image copyrightBurbage Primary School
image captionThe alert was written by the school's head teacher Anthony Tierney

Another parent, who did not want to be named, told BBC Radio Derby: "I think the school has made a very sensible decision.

"It was surprising as [coronavirus] seems like something very far away."

In a joint statement with Public Health England, Dean Wallace from Derbyshire County Council said the risk to the general public "remains low".

A second school in Derbyshire - Chesterfield's Brookfield Community School - said a student was being tested for the virus as a precaution but it would remain open as normal.

At the scene

By Matt Barlow, BBC Radio Derby

The decision to close was an independent one made by school management, rather than one forced upon them by health officials.

But as a parent with a child at the school myself, it does appear to be a sensible measure - and it's reassuring they've taken it upon themselves to mount this belt-and-braces action.

I've talked to several other parents with children at the school and they've told me they feel nervous about what's happened.

There are still so many unknowns. Who is this person? How are they doing now? It's probably natural to feel concerned.

GP Peter Holden, who represents British Medical Association (BMA) doctors in the East Midlands, said he was not surprised by a confirmed case.

"This disease looks like it's going to go around," he said.

"I think we must keep it in proportion - for most people it will be just like flu.

"But for society the biggest problem will be the sheer number of people just not fit enough to go to work."

More than 7,000 people have been tested for coronavirus in the UK since the outbreak began to spread beyond China in January, with 15 cases confirmed positive.

The two latest positive tests were confirmed by England's chief medical officer earlier.

The two people have been transferred to specialist NHS infection centres in Liverpool and London, the Department of Health said.

England's chief medical officer Prof Chris Whitty said the virus was passed on while they were in Italy and Tenerife.

image captionBuxton Medical Practice will reopen on Friday

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