Runshaw College Covid outbreak: Indian variant among more than 30 cases on campus
More than 30 people have tested positive after an outbreak of Covid-19 at Runshaw College in Leyland - with two cases of the Indian variant confirmed.
The college has been forced to close for 10 days after consultation with Public Health England as efforts are being made to swiftly contain and trace the outbreak.
Runshaw has not confirmed the exact number of cases, but sources say "at least" 30 people have tested positive. The college has confirmed that "some" of those affected have contratced the Indian variant.
Due to growing concern about the transmission of this variant - which is expected to be upgraded to a "variant of concern" later today - Runshaw made the decision to close its campus until May 17.
In an update to college staff last night, principal and CEO Clare Russell confirmed that "genetic testing" had uncovered the Indian variant among those who had tested positive.
Ms Russell said: "Further to some more discussions with Public Health England, I am now able to provide the following update.
"We are working closely with Public Health England and Lancashire County Council in relation to some specific cases of COVID-19 among the college community.
"Of course, these cases have been swiftly and safely dealt with in accordance with our COVID-secure Risk Assessment.
"However, genetic testing by PHE has identified that some of those affected had contracted the COVID-19 variant first identified in India, and therefore wish to do further testing to track this outbreak."
The college said deep cleaning will be taking place and all staff and students have been asked to take a Covid test, whether they have symptoms or not. Vaccines will also be offered to those staff who have yet to receive one.
Ms Russell added: "I am sorry that these arrangements are potentially disruptive to planned teaching and learning activities. But on balance, taking this step is the most effective way to break chains of transmission and keep everyone safe."
Ms Russell has since provided a full statement on the Covid outbreak and campus closure. You can read her statement here.Public Health England and Lancashire County Council say they are working with Runshaw College to "track and control" the spread of the outbreak. All lessons will be delivered online until it is deemed safe to reopen the college on May 17.
Runshaw College told the Post that it expects to make a further announcement later today.
It is believed more than 500 cases of the Indian variant have now been detected across England with the highest levels in the North West and London.
Public Health England and Lancashire County Council have been approached for further details.
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