Nine schools in East Sussex have said some of their pupils or staff are being kept in isolation and tested for coronavirus after concerns were raised that a Brighton man who tested positive for the disease may have passed it on to others.
Steve Walsh, who unknowingly contracted the disease on a business trip in Singapore before going on a ski trip where he is thought to have infected others, is being held in an isolation unit at St Thomas’ hospital in London. He was in the Alps with two GPs who have since tested positive for coronavirus in Brighton.
Two GP practices were closed on Tuesday for cleaning over coronavirus fears, but are now open with some disruption to appointments. A spokesman for NHS Brighton and Hove CCG said all other NHS services in Brighton and Hove were open as usual, with measures in place to protect patients and staff.
Two families with children at Carden primary school in Brighton were told to self-isolate in an email issued by the school on Wednesday morning. The school is situated opposite the County Oak medical centre, which has been closed after a GP working there came into contact with Walsh.
The email from the school stressed that the families had been in contact with a “potential” case of the virus and not yet a diagnosed one.
Among the affected schools in Brighton is one of the area’s biggest secondaries. Varndean school has written to the parents of its 1,300 pupils, the Argus reported. Varndean said somebody connected to the school had been told by Public Heath England (PHE) to self-isolate for 14 days.
Parents at Cottesmore St Mary’s Catholic primary school in Hove had two children in quarantine, the Argus reported . Hangleton primary school, also in Hove, sent an email to parents informing them that a pupil’s family were self-isolating because of “a connection to one of the health centres affected by the coronavirus”. It said: “At this time there is a low risk for anyone attending the school.”
Other affected schools include Portslade Aldridge Community Academy in Portslade, which has about 900 students, as well as Bevendean primary school and Balfour primary school.
Ratton school in Eastbourne, a secondary with 1,196 students, and Ocklynge, a junior school, have also issued warnings.
Meanwhile it has emerged that two prisoners at HMP Bullingdon, near Bicester in Oxfordshire, are being tested for coronavirus and kept in isolation in their cells. One of two prisoners had recently been transferred from a jail in Thailand, Sky News reported.
The prison has capacity for 1,114 inmates and remains operational, with PHE on site helping to manage the situation. Access to the wing of the complex where the affected prisoners are being held has been restricted.