The spread of the coronavirus has accelerated across Europe with new cases in four countries and a rising death toll in Italy, which is desperately struggling to contain the outbreak.
Concern about the proliferation of cases prompted a dozen UK schools to send home pupils and the teachers who accompanied them on half-term skiing trips in the Italian alps to self-isolate for 14 days after their return. The schools include ones in County Antrim in Northern Ireland, Pembrokeshire in Wales, Guernsey in the Channel Islands and others in Cheshire, Liverpool, Yorkshire, Berkshire, Teesside and Cornwall.
Despite advice from Public Health England and the Department for Education that schools should stay open, two closed completely to all pupils for deep-cleaning.
Trinity Catholic college in Middlesbrough said it would reopen on 3 March, while Cransley school in Northwich, Cheshire is shut until 2 March after the headteacher said a number of pupils were showing “flu-like symptoms”.
The schools’ response came amid growing confusion over the government’s advice on whether it is safe to travel to northern Italy, with the health secretary and UK chief medical officer expressing conflicting views. [Continue reading…]