York student with coronavirus "did not meet others" university confirms

The Huoshenshan temporary field hospital under construction is seen as it nears completion in Wuhan in central China's Hubei Province.
The Huoshenshan temporary field hospital under construction is seen as it nears completion in Wuhan in central China's Hubei Province.
Have your say

A student who contracted coronavirus returned to his student apartment but did not come into contact with other residents, the University of York has confirmed.

The unnamed person, who is being treated with a relative at a specialist facility in Newcastle, was not in the Vita Student block when he came into contact with the virus but “did return to

their room on one occasion and stayed overnight”, the university said.

In statement, it said: “During this brief period, the student did not meet other residents or staff at the building or make use of the communal facilities.”

The development in York came as thousands of Britons in mainland China were urged to leave as coronavirus continues to claim more lives in the country.

The Foreign Office amended its travel advice after Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he expects more cases to be diagnosed in the UK.

Officials said the update was a prudent step in case more commercial airlines stopped flights out of China, or China extended travel restrictions.

The university said the Vita Student block is used by students of the University of York and York St John University.

It said the new information came to light as part of Public Health England’s investigations following the announcement at the weekend of the cases in York – still the only two confirmed in the UK.

PHE has been working to trace people who had close contact with the pair, who had checked into the Staycity apartment-hotel in York.

The university said the new information does not change its risk assessment of “low” and that there is negligible risk of onward transmission of the virus.

Max Bielby, managing director of Vita Student, said: “As confirmed by Public Health England (PHE), the affected student is a resident in our City of York accommodation, and did return to their apartment for an overnight period.

“We are reassured that the PHE investigation has established that the student did not come into contact with any other resident in the Vita York development, and that no additional precautionary measures are required.”

Earlier, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: “We now advise British nationals in China to leave the country if they can, to minimise their risk of exposure to the virus.

“Where there are still British nationals in Hubei province who wish to be evacuated, we will continue to work around the clock to facilitate this.”

The Foreign Office said flights departing from China were still available, except in Hubei where the virus originated.

The Government was “allocated 14 places on an Air New Zealand fight yesterday for UK nationals and their dependants”.