Pupils at a Stoke-on-Trent school are awaiting the results of a coronavirus test as a case was confirmed just over the Staffordshire-Derbyshire border.
Two Trentham Academy students are currently in isolation as they await the results of the potentially-deadly disease after coming down with the symptoms on Tuesday, February 25 following a ski trip to northern Italy.
The wait comes as Burbage Primary School in Buxton has been forced to close for a deep clean after the headteacher said a parent caught coronavirus.
Officials have refused to confirm if they were one of the two cases.
However, it is believed the patient was infected in Tenerife, where hundreds of holidaymakers are currently being quarantined in a four-stay hotel because of an outbreak.
Meanwhile, a GP surgery in Buxton has also closed, saying it has a confirmed a case of the deadly infection, which has now infected more than 82,000 people across the world and killed 2,800.
A spokesman for Derbyshire County Council said: “We are investigating the reports and seeking confirmation from Public Health England. We will release further information as soon as possible.”
England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty confirmed the new cases today.
He said: “Two further patients in England have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of UK cases to 15.
“The virus was passed on in Italy and Tenerife and the patients have been transferred to specialist NHS infection centres in Royal Liverpool Hospital and the Royal Free Hospital, London.”
Health chiefs did not confirm when the patients had returned to the UK, raising fears they may have passed the virus on.
Fifteen cases of the deadly infection have now been confirmed on British soil – until today all of them had been linked to the Far East.
The virus has yet to spread between humans in the UK.
But Public Health England (PHE) said that its general advice is not to close schools – a message echoed by Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
However, some headteachers have taken evasive action and shut down schools after staff and students came down with ‘mild flu-like symptoms’ after returning from the Alps.
A small group of Trentham pupils visited Ahrntal Valley, in South Tyrol – which is outside the current lockdown area in Italy – during last week’s half-term break.
Twelve people in Italy have died of Covid-19 with hundreds of confirmed cases, and authorities have now quarantined 11 towns in Lombardy and Veneto.
Trentham Academy headteacher Mike Whittingham initially wrote to parents on Tuesday, saying that the school considered the risk to students to be ‘extremely low’, as the group had not travelled through any of the areas in lockdown.
A second letter went out yesterday, saying that two pupils had developed flu-like symptoms and were being isolated and tested.
The results of the tests are expected today.
The school is monitoring the health of pupils and staff, and is advising parents to be vigilant for any symptoms, and call NHS 111 if they have any concerns.
In letter, Mr Whittingham stated: “To confirm, two students who attended the visit displayed symptoms associated with coronavirus. In line with recommendations to contain any possible spread, isolation and testing followed. It is anticipated that test results will be shared with the family affected within the next 24 hours.
“As you would expect, we remain in close contact with all advisory bodies relating to this matter. At this point, both Public Health England and the NHS have advised that we monitor the health and well-being of our academy community and follow the same steps should any other person or persons present with symptoms.”
A Trentham Academy statement added: “A small group of staff and students participated in a ski trip to northern Italy during half-term. On return, two students displayed symptoms associated with coronavirus and have been tested. The results of these tests are still pending.
“The academy is in close liaison with Public Health England and the NHS and is following all advice offered to ensure the health and wellbeing of our academy community.”
Brine Leas Academy, in Nantwich, and Sandbach High School have both this week sent home staff and pupils following ski trips to northern Italy.
For more advice, visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus or call NHS 111.