‘Extremely unlikely’ Camden School for Girls pupil - whose dad tested positive for coronavirus - has infected others
PUBLISHED: 16:00 12 March 2020 | UPDATED: 16:34 12 March 2020
A parent whose child attends Camden School for Girls has tested positive for coronavirus, but it’s not clear whether their child has been tested to see if they might have infected other pupils and teachers.
Leaders at the school in Sandall Road, Kentish Town, have been advised by the phone-in helpline NHS 111 that 'it is extremely unlikely that they [the sixth form pupil] will have infected anyone', and that 'there is no need to close the school as a result'.
Worried parents questioned whether the child had been tested for the new strain of coronavirus so the school could say for certain whether the pupil had potentially infected anyone else.
The government - which has been criticised for its response to the pandemic - is still supposed to be in the 'contain' phase of combating the virus, which involves 'detecting early cases, following up close contacts, and preventing the disease taking hold in the UK for as long as is reasonably possible'.
People can be carriers of the illness, but not display any symptoms.
But a spokesperson for Public Health England told this paper today that the policy is to only test people who are showing symptoms of the virus.
In an email sent today, head teacher Elizabeth Kitcatt explained to parents that 'a sixth form student's father has tested positive for Covid-19'.
She said: 'The student was in school on Monday but has not been in school since then, and will not be in school until the quarantine period is over. The student had no symptoms of the illness.
'NHS 111 informed us that, since the student has no symptoms, it is extremely unlikely that they will have infected anyone. There is no need to close the school.'
She added there were 'no other reports' of any other students or family members with the new strain of coronavirus, and that no member of school staff is unwell with it either.
The school was asked if the pupil had undergone a test for Covid-19, but the school did not respond.
In a statement, the school's chair of governors and Ms Kitkatt said: 'The health and well-being of our students and staff is our number one priority.
'The school is following guidance for educational settings issued by the Department for Education and Public Health England.
'We are taking steps to guard against the spread of any infection and staff are thoroughly briefed on what action to take if
anyone in the school has been exposed to Covid-19 through travel or direct contact with a confirmed case.'
A petition calling on the government to close schools in the UK over coronavirus fears has been backed by nearly 250,000 people.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the UK has increased to 590 today, up by 134 since yesterday.
NHS England has announced two more patients have died, bringing the total death toll from coronavirus in the UK to 10.
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