A University of York student is ill with Coronavirus, Public Health England has confirmed.
The Chinese student began to show symptoms of the deadly virus while staying with a family member at the StayCity hotel in York. A family member of the student has also contracted the virus and both people have been transported to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle for treatment.
York Vision understands a third member of the family has not contracted the virus.
An email sent round today by Heidi Fraser-Krauss, the Deputy Registrar and Director of Corporate and Information Services at the University of York, warned students of the danger. Fraser-Krauss claimed that Public Health England have advised “the risk of infection being passed to others on campus is extremely low.”
As far as York Vision is currently aware, the infected student did not visit either of the York’s campuses while displaying Coronavirus symptoms. However, there are several documented cases of the Coronavirus spreading through people who have shown no symptoms at that point in time.
An investigation is ongoing to determine the level of threat posed to York staff and students.
So far the Coronavirus has killed over 250 people and infected at least 12 000 people worldwide. The current mortality rate for those infected is around 3-4%, according to the World Health Organisation. The Coronavirus targets people with weak immune systems, particularly those with chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. It is also more likely to infect males than females, with more than 2/3 of all confirmed cases being men.
Even before it was confirmed that one of the patients was a York University student, posters from Public Health England were being displayed in campus buildings.
The University of York has set up a webpage to provide information about the Coronavirus which can be found here: https://www.york.ac.uk/alert/.
In addition to providing information about the virus itself and confirming that the university will remain running as normal, the FAQ page set up by the university confirms that there are currently approximately 2000 Chinese students studying at York University.
“I’m a bit worried that the university is so readily handing out information about its international students,” says Siobhan O’Brien, a first-year criminology student. “It’s irrelevant how many Chinese students there are at the university and it seems a bit like they are being scapegoated, which is really worrying. I think we have to be especially concerned about the potential xenophobic implications when we discuss the Coronavirus. The focus has to be on public safety.”
Featured image by Harry Clay