AN Oxford University student has tested positive for coronavirus.

It is the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the city after Public Health England (PHE) revealed last night there were now four cases in Oxfordshire. 

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In an email seen by the Oxford Mail, which was sent to staff and students last night, Vice-Chancellor Louise Richardson said PHE had confirmed the diagnosis.

She added: "I am constrained in what I can say at the moment, but I am glad to report that the student self-isolated as soon as they developed symptoms and did not attend any college events after they felt ill."

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The University head said due to this PHE has advised that the risk to other students and staff is 'very low' and college activities could continue. 

She continued: "They have also advised that we do not need to take any more additional public health actions in light of this case.

"It is important to bear in mind that PHE do not consider individuals infectious until they develop symptoms.

"Colleagues have been working with PHE to ensure that anyone who was in contact with the student after they felt ill has been notified and is able to gain access to both information and support."

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She added: "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."

The Vice-Chancellor concluded that she knew the news would be 'upsetting to some' but support would be  available through student welfare, colleges and departments.

In an official statement the University said: "Our immediate concerns are for the affected student and their family, along with the health and wellbeing of our university staff, students and visitors.

"The student is being offered all necessary support."

It also added a warning against 'harassment and discrimination of any kind' stating: "The health, welfare and safety of students and staff is the number one priority for the University.

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"Oxford has a strong history of welcoming students and staff from around the world to the UK, and they are an integral part of our international community."

It added: "We ask that all students and staff support their fellow friends and colleagues at this difficult time.

"Harassment and discrimination of any kind, including racial harassment, are totally unacceptable at the University.

"Any instances of harassment should be reported immediately either to staff harassment advisors, or to college welfare leads in the case of students."