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Bristol City Council and the University of Bristol’s joint statement on confirmed COVID-19 case

Press release issued: 12 March 2020

Bristol City Council and the University of Bristol have confirmed that a student at the University of Bristol has been 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.

Professor Sarah Purdy, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Student Experience at the 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 which includes the latest advice from PHE."

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 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"

Further information

  • Bristol City Council, PHE and the NHS are well prepared to deal with coronavirus. Our priority is to safeguard local communities which sometimes involves taking preventative measures to help reduce the risk of further cases.
  • To date more than 27,400 people have been tested with 456 positive cases. We advise people to follow the advice being issued by PHE, NHS and local authorities.
  • We cannot comment further on individual cases due to patient confidentiality.
  • Details on testing are published daily at 2pm and includes a breakdown of negative and positive tests

Data may be subject to delays in case confirmation and reporting, as well as ongoing data cleaning. Location is based on case residential postcode. When this is not available, NHS trust or reporting laboratory postcode is used. The data is therefore subject to change. Counts for Isles of Scilly and City of London are combined with Cornwall and Hackney respectively for disclosure control.

  • For more information and advice on coronavirus (COVID-19): 





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