Eddie Mair 4pm - 6pm
Pupils from Prince George and Princess Charlotte's school 'being tested for coronavirus'
27 February 2020, 00:36 | Updated: 27 February 2020, 00:41
Pupils from Prince George and Princess Charlotte's school are in self-isolation after returning from a trip to northern Italy, it has been reported.
According to Spanish news website El Confidencial, four children from Thomas's Battersea have been sent home to wait for test results.
Two of those being tested are said to be suffering from flu-like symptoms following their trip.
George, six, and Charlotte, four, both attend the private school in south London.
None of those being tested have been confirmed to have contracted the disease.
The school is understood to have emailed parents about the pupils about the children being assessed symptoms.
A spokesperson for the school said: "Like all schools, we are taking very seriously the potential risks related to the spread of Covid-19 and to this end we are following the Government's instructions to the letter on infection prevention and case management in which it is suspected that some staff member or students exposed to the virus or showing any symptoms.
"We currently have a very small number of students who have been evaluated and these individuals currently, according to the Government Council, remain in their homes waiting to receive the results of their exams.
"All parents have been informed and we have maintained regular communication with our school community to ensure that councils are shared and important information circulated.
"Of course, we will preserve the confidentiality of staff and students, and we will not comment on specific cases."
Across the UK, a number of schools have decided to close their doors in fear of the disease, despite health officials recommending that they should stay open.
At least eight have closed, while others have sent pupils home amid fears they may have been exposed to coronavirus during trips to northern Italy.
But Public Health England (PHE) said that its general advice is not to close schools.
The news comes as 12 people have been confirmed dead in Italy after contracting the virus.
Travellers from Italy have been told to self-isolate for 14 days to avoid the spreading of the disease.
Italian authorities have also confirmed that 400 people have been infected, and 11 towns in Lombardy and Veneto have been placed into lockdown in an attempt to stem the spread.
Worldwide, 81,385 people have been diagnosed with coronavirus - officially known as Covid-19 - and 2,771 deaths have been recorded.
But the World Health Organisation has yet to class the outbreak as a 'pandemic', with director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus saying on 24 February: "Does this virus have pandemic potential? Absolutely, it has. Are we there yet? From our assessment, not yet."
A statement released by the WHO earlier today acknowledged that coronavirus is now spreading faster in areas outside of China - the epicentre of the infections.
Yesterday was the first time new infections reported outside China exceeded new ones inside.
Italy is among countries to see a large increase, alongside Iran and South Korea.
There have also been new infections linked to Iran in Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait and Oman, and cases linked to Italy in Algeria, Austria, Croatia, Germany, Spain and Switzerland.