In a statement released this evening, it has been confirmed that a student at the University has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), following their return from an unspecified country.
While it has reportedly been established that the student did not attend any college or university events after falling ill, the statement assures that those who were in contact with the student after they fell ill has been notified, receiving the necessary advice and support.
Public Health England has advised the University that the risk to the students and staff at the individual’s college is very low, and that both university and college activities can continue as normal. They have also advised that the university and colleges do not need to take any additional public health actions in the light of this specific case.
The University understands that the diagnosis may cause concern among Oxford students and staff, but remind that support is available through Student Welfare, Colleges and Departments for University members who may have any concerns.
In an email following the release, the Vice Chancellor stated that “We have anticipated this eventuality and have been preparing for it for some weeks now. Moreover, given the rate of infection across the country, there will in all likelihood be other cases. I know this news will be upsetting to some of you.”
The diagnosis follows from the Vice Chancellor’s email dated the 3rd March, in which she called coronavirus cases at the University “inevitable”, but reassured students that the University had been working to for the “past several weeks” to prepare to deal with an outbreak in Oxford. It has been reported that scientists at University institutions – such as the Jenner Institute – are working on a projects to develop the first batches of a vaccines to fight the virus.
It is not yet known to which college the student diagnosed with the virus belongs.
It is advised that anyone who might be worried about exposure or symptoms should follow current PHE advice and contact 111.