12 Mar 2020

Joint statement from Bristol City Council and the University of Bristol on confirmed COVID-19 case

 A student at the University of Bristol has tested positively for COVID-19.

Bristol City Council and the University of Bristol have confirmed that a student at the University of Bristol has tested positively for COVID-19, after returning to Bristol from abroad.

Public Health England is following up the case, tracing and advising contacts according to national guidance and protocol.

Christina Gray, Director of Public Health for Bristol City Council, said: “We can confirm a positive case of COVID-19 at the University of Bristol. We are working closely with the university to manage the situation and reduce further risk.

“Close contacts will be given health advice about symptoms and emergency contact details to use if they become unwell in the 14 days after contact with the confirmed case. This tried and tested method will ensure any risk to them and the wider public can be minimised.

“Further cases of COVID-19 are expected in Bristol as we see rises in diagnoses across the UK. We are fully prepared for this. We are working with city partners in the NHS and health and social care teams to contain the virus spread, and help the public understand what they can do to avoid catching the virus.

“We are unable to report every confirmed case, however the latest statistics are available on the national Gov.uk website.

“Good hygiene is the best prevention and there are some simple steps you can take to protect you and your family by washing your hands regularly and thoroughly and if you cough, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue.

“If you have recently been to one of the affected areas and are feeling unwell, you should use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service or call NHS 111 for further advice straight away – please don’t go to your doctor or a hospital. There’s lots of advice on how people can protect themselves online at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus

Professor Sarah Purdy, Pro Vice-Chancellor at University of Bristol, said:Public Health England has confirmed that a student from the University of Bristol has tested positive for Covid-19 coronavirus after returning to Bristol from abroad.

“The student followed Public Health England (PHE) advice and self-isolated in private accommodation before they displayed symptoms. PHE do not consider individuals infectious until they develop symptoms.

“We are supporting the student to ensure they have everything they need to recover quickly from the illness.

“PHE have advised us that the risk to our community is very low. We do not currently need to take any additional actions and the University remains open as normal. 

“Our immediate concerns are for the affected student and their family, along with the health and wellbeing of our university staff, students and visitors. We are grateful that this student followed PHE advice and took proactive steps to self-isolate.

“PHE has advised us that they will trace anyone who was in contact with the student after they experienced symptoms to ensure they are offered appropriate advice. 

“We have been planning for instances of outbreak since January and are confident we are well prepared.

“We are taking this situation very seriously and understand this development may cause concern among our students, staff, and the wider community. Support for students with concerns is available through the Information Point and Wellbeing services.  Support for staff is available through Staff Wellbeing.

“We ask all students and staff to continue to follow Government and PHE advice, washing hands with soap regularly, and use the 111 coronavirus service if you begin to develop symptoms.

“We will share further updates for our community as appropriate at www.bristol.ac.uk/coronavirus, which includes the latest advice from PHE.”