Two more patients in England have tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the total number of UK cases to 15.

One caught the killer bug during a trip to Italy, where 12 people have died amid the worst contagion in Europe.

The other person had visited the Spanish island of Tenerife, where about 160 Britons are in a quarantine at a hotel for two weeks after four Italian guests were diagnosed.

A school in Buxton, Derbyshire, said a parent had tested positive for the flu-like illness, forcing it to close as a precaution and for a deep clean.

The patients are being treated in isolation at specialist NHS infection centres in Royal Liverpool Hospital and the Royal Free Hospital in London.

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  • Parent 'catches coronavirus' forcing school to close for deep clean

  • Coronavirus: Brits stranded at Tenerife hotel beg Boris Johnson to rescue them

In a message to parents and carers, Burbage Primary School wrote: "Due to a confirmed case of coronavirus amongst our parent population, Burbage Primary School will be closed as a precautionary measure to enable a deep clean to be completed.

“A further update will be shared tomorrow.”

The school has about 350 pupils.

About 20 UK schools have closed for at least one day this week and around 30 others – including Prince George's in south London – have sent some staff and students home to self-isolate.


In most cases, it is because pupils and staff recently returned from ski trips in northern Italy's "red zone", where more than 400 people have been diagnosed and 12 have died.

The Government has urged schools and businesses not to overreact as the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, continues to spread across Europe, especially in Italy, Austria and Spain.

Britons who are stuck at the locked-down H10 Costa Adeje Palace Hotel in Tenerife will be in quarantine until at least March 10.

Some are desperate to return home to Britain and have begged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to send a plane to rescue them.

Prof Chris Whitty, Public Health England's Chief Medical Officer, announced the UK's latest confirmed cases on Thursday morning.

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."

Coronavirus has been spreading across Europe this week with 447 people infected and 12 dead in Italy, where the regions of Lombardy and Veneto have been locked down amid calls for the World Health Organisation to declare a global pandemic.

Lombardy's governor, Attilio Fontana, placed himself in quarantine after one of his staff came down with the disease.

He said on Facebook: "For now I don't have any type of infection so I can continue to work … but for two weeks I will try to live in a sort of self-isolation."

Lombardy is the epicentre of Italy's outbreak.

More than 300 people there have tested positive over the past week and 10 people have died in the region.

There are fears that Britons who went on half-term ski trips to those regions could have brought the virus back with them.

Travellers returning to the UK from northern Italy were told they may need to self-isolate as part of measures to stop the spread of illness.

Public Health England (PHE) said that its general advice is not to close schools – a message echoed by Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

So far in the UK more than 7,000 people have been tested for the virus and of the 15 to have tested positive, eight have so far been discharged from hospital.

In China, where the virus originated, has reported a total of 78,497 cases, including 2,744 deaths. Outside China, there were 3,651, cases including 50 deaths.

After Brazil confirmed Latin America's first case on Wednesday, the virus has reached every continent except Antarctica.

France reported its first death this week and cases were confirmed for the first time in a number of European countries, including Austria, Croatia, Greece and Switzerland.

Switzerland said on Thursday that it now had four confirmed cases.

Infections continued to soar in South Korea, which has the second-most cases in the world at about 1,600.

Its disease control agency said a Korean Air flight attendant who worked on trips between Seoul and Los Angeles had since tested positive.

South Korea reported 334 additional cases on Thursday.

Businesses and financial markets continued to take a beating on Thursday as London-listed shares slid.

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