A PRIMARY school has closed today after a parent tested POSITIVE for coronavirus - with two more confirmed cases of the deadly bug in England.
Burbage Primary School in Buxton, Derbyshire, sent out a WhatsApp alert warning people to stay away last night - as a parent was one of two people to contract the virus.
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The case is believed to be the first school to close due to a confirmed case of the Covid-19 virus.
The two patients have been transferred to specialist NHS infection centres after contracting the virus in Italy and Tenerife, according to England's chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty.
Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty said: “Two further patients in England have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of UK cases to 15.
“The virus was passed on in Italy and Tenerife and the patients have been transferred to specialist NHS infection centres in Royal Liverpool Hospital and the Royal Free Hospital, London.”
It brings the total number of people diagnosed with Covid-19 in the UK to 15.
Burbage Primary School's head Anthony Tierney said: "We are shut, it is just a precaution. I can’t say anything more at the moment.”
Panicked parents took to social media after receiving the bombshell message which was sent out just before 11pm last night.
Many complained about the lack of a full explanation as to whether the infected parent has actually been on the school premises.
The school, which has 347 pupils and 49 members of staff, gave no further details about the coronavirus victim.
In a WhatsApp message sent to parents the headteacher said the decision had been taken as a “precautionary measure”.
The message read: “Dear parents and carers, due to a confirmed case of coronavirus amongst our parent population, Burbage Primary School will be CLOSED tomorrow (Thursday 27 February 2020) as a precautionary measure and to enable a deep clean to be completed.
“A further update will be shared tomorrow. Thank you."
School bosses said the decision was taken for the safety and protection of children and teachers so that the school can be cleaned.
At first some parents thought the message was a hoax, which lead to hundreds of messages on Facebook and Twitter.
Parent Tim Stubbs posted: “My daughter goes to the school. I can confirm that the school have put out the message to parents. They have also asked people not to post hysterical messages on social media.”
On Facebook Brendan McGrath criticised the online speculation: “It may be precautionary and the parent may not have been on the premises but has a child at the school who has been exposed to the virus.
“The virus is transmittable before any symptoms are shown so to give no context or further explanation is irresponsible!!"
But Sarah Cartwright replied: “What context is missing? Parent infected, their kids at the school. Virus can infect without symptoms early on. School closes to get cleaned. What's missing?”
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Lisa Saffy Ward criticised the speculation about the seriousness of the situation before any further details were released.
“I feel for the staff and headmaster who will have to deal with the members of the public who are now worrying over precautionary measures,” she wrote.
But Connor Burden replied: “Why shouldn't they worry? It's contagious before symptoms show. If the parent has it then likely the child/children do also.”
Members of Derbyshire County Council’s emergency planning team were called into the authority’s headquarters in Matlock early to deal with the issue.
Several schools around the UK have closed over fears pupils and staff members may have been exposed to coronavirus after travelling abroad during the half-term break.
Others have sent pupils and staff home, as the illness continues to spread across Europe.
But Public Health England (PHE) says it is not advising schools to shut to stem the spread of the virus.
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PHE's medical director Prof Paul Cosford acknowledged schools had to take "difficult decisions given the complexity of the issues that they're facing".
"Of course, schools have difficult decisions to take - a whole range of issues to take into account and we are able to talk to them about their specific circumstances and help them make the right decisions for them," he said.
"But what I would say is that our general advice is not to close schools."
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