Coronavirus latest: More than 240 calls to York helpline – as city council issues new statement

The University of York Heslington East campus. Photograph © Allan Harris on Flickr
2 Feb 2020 @ 6.01 pm
| News

More than 240 calls have been made to a dedicated helpline in York after a student at the city’s university was confirmed as having the coronavirus.

The University of York set up a call centre on Saturday after confirming one of the first two confirmed UK cases of the virus was a student.

The calls have come from staff, students, parents and a small number of members of the public with general concerns and asking for information and guidance, a university spokesman said.

Some 200 calls were made on Saturday and a further 43 had been received by Sunday afternoon.

The line – 01904 809571 – will remain open on Monday.

Not at New Year event

York Barbican. Photograph: YorkMix
The university said the risk is low because it has been established that the student was not on campus or in student accommodation for the period before being exposed to the virus or after.

In a statement on Sunday, University of York vice-chancellor Professor Charlie Jeffery and representatives from the Chinese Students and Scholars Association said the student did not attend a university Chinese New Year celebration at the York Barbican – next door to Staycity where they stayed.

Neither did they attend recent graduation ceremonies.

They said as soon as the student’s relative showed symptoms, they contacted emergency services and were both taken to the specialist medical facility in Newcastle, where they were diagnosed with the virus.

A spokesman said the university remains open as usual and stressed that it will continue to monitor the situation.

Council update

Meanwhile, City of York Council issued a fresh statement on Sunday afternoon.

Director of public health Sharon Stoltz said:

  • Robust infection control measures are in place in York and we are working closely with Public Health England, the Department for Health and Social Care and partners across the city.

    The risk to individuals living and working in York is low and the city remains very much open to residents, visitors and students.