Coronavirus: East Sussex students returning from Italy advised to ‘avoid contact immediately’ if they show symptoms

Students at an East Sussex school who have recently returned from a ski trip to northern Italy have been advised to ‘stay indoors’ and ‘avoid contact with people immediately’ if they show symptoms of the coronavirus.

A letter from Claverham Community College, in Battle, was sent to parents after Public Health England updated its guidance to passengers returning from northern Italy – defined as the area on the map north of, but not including, Pisa, Florence and Rimin – to stay indoors if they show symptoms, ‘however mild’.

Students from Claverham Community College have recently returned from a ski trip to Champoluc, which is approximately ten miles from the Swiss border.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

The centre of the recent outbreak of coronavirus in Italy has been south east of Milan, more than 100 miles away.

Claverham Community College. Picture: Google

In his letter, school principal Paul Switton said: “The recently updated guidance advises that if you have returned from northern Italy since February 19th, and develop symptoms, however mild, you should stay indoors at home, avoid contact with other people immediately and call NHS 111. You do not need to follow this advice if you have no symptoms.

“The symptoms are listed as: a cough or fever or shortness of breath.

“This is purely a precaution. The centre of the recent outbreak of coronavirus in Italy is south east of Milan, a large distance from the destination of the ski trip Champoluc, which is only about ten miles from the Swiss border.

“However, given the updated advice we would urge you to follow this guidance if your son or daughter displays any of the symptoms stated.

“The UK government and Public Health England are well-prepared to handle any further cases of coronavirus in the country. We will update you if we receive any additional information, please contact us if you would like further details or guidance.”

An East Sussex County Council spokesman said: “Our public health team has been working with a number of schools in the county to provide advice on coronavirus.

“We are directing schools to Government guidance that anyone who has returned from areas where cases of the virus have been confirmed, and have developed a cough, fever or shortness of breath, should stay at home, avoid contact with others and call NHS 111.

“This is purely a precautionary measure and the number of confirmed cases reported in the UK remains very low. The Government and Public Health England are well prepared to handle any further cases of coronavirus.

“Further advice is available at www.gov.uk/guidance/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-information-for-the-public”