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Coronavirus (COVID-19) update 1 February 2020

Posted on 1 February 2020

Updates on Coronavirus, 11am and 7pm


The University’s coronavirus incident response team have held further discussions with senior colleagues in Public Health England. PHE’s analysis of the situation, combined with the University’s own internal investigations, confirms the following:

  • The diagnosed student was not on campus or in student accommodation for the period before they were exposed to the virus.
  • The diagnosed student was not on campus or in student accommodation after being exposed to the virus.

This means that we can again reiterate PHE’s assurance that the risk level to our staff and students remains low.

Respecting patient confidentiality and the privacy of our student is paramount and we want to reiterate what our Vice-Chancellor, Professor Charlie Jeffery, said in his statement to the media earlier today,

“We recognise that there is significant media interest in this situation but we would appeal to all of you to respect the privacy of those now under the care of the NHS, and our wider community of staff and students.”

We are continuing to monitor the situation closely and we will continue to provide as much advice, care and support as we can to anyone affected by this situation, and as directed by Public Health England. We will continue to post any further information as and when it becomes available on this web page.


Further to reports that the two cases of coronavirus diagnosed in England concerned two individuals in York, Public Health England (PHE) have now informed us that one of the two individuals to have tested positive for coronavirus is a student at the University of York. We understand this development will cause concern and anxiety among our students, staff, and the wider community.

Our immediate concerns are for the affected student and family, along with the health and continued wellbeing of our staff, students and visitors.

We are working closely with NHS services and Public Health England who are taking the lead in responding to the case and we will take direction from them in all aspects of this situation.

We want to reassure you that PHE has advised us that the risk of infection being passed to others on campus is low. Current information from PHE suggests that the student did not come into contact with anybody on campus while they had symptoms but PHE investigations are ongoing to fully establish this.

All relevant public health information, including regular updates, is posted at If people have any concerns about their health in relation to suspected coronavirus we ask that they follow current PHE advice and contact NHS 111.

The University has already had some calls about the prior media coverage that had reported that the diagnosed individuals had been in York. We have therefore created a call centre to deal with any further queries from staff and students. Anyone who has any further concerns or inquiries should contact 01904 809571.

Our media relations team are leading on all aspects of engagement and liaison with the media for the University, in partnership with PHE.

The University continues to operate normally. We are monitoring the situation closely and we will continue to provide as much advice, care and support as we can to our University community.