China quarantines 85 UK students
The number of British students and teachers quarantined in Beijing over swine flu has leapt to at least 85, while four more have been hospitalised with the virus, Britain's embassy here said yesterday.
The new tally marks an increase over the 52 originally quarantined last week for a seven-day period at a Beijing hotel after they arrived for a study tour.
"We can confirm that a group of over 85 British schoolchildren and teachers are being held in quarantine in a hotel in Beijing," the British embassy said in a statement that also indicated the figure could grow further.
"We have had reports that two more groups of British schoolchildren with approximately 25 children are now being taken to quarantine in the hotel."
The statement also said eight British children had now been hospitalised with symptoms of the A(H1N1) virus, up from four reported over the weekend.
The numbers swelled due to an influx of new arrivals to the Yan Xiang Hotel late on Sunday, said Ian Tyrrell, a teacher who also is under quarantine and who estimated that at least 100 British students were at the hotel.
"This hotel is full now. There has been a new influx and there are more than 100 UK students here now," Tyrrell told AFP by phone from his room at the hotel.
Tyrrell said there also was a large group of quarantined American students there.
A US embassy spokeswoman on Sunday declined to comment on any quarantined US nationals, citing American privacy laws.
Neither the hotel nor city health officials would comment to AFP.
Tyrrell said some school groups at the hotel were now isolating themselves from others as a precaution but that his group was being well cared-for.
"As new groups arrive it's a bit of a trauma but I think we're all handling it well or doing our best to handle it as best we can," he said.
China has responded aggressively to swine flu with temperature checks for arriving international passengers, and has imposed one-week quarantines on dozens of foreigners.
There have been around 1,500 positive cases of the virus in China, the health ministry has said, but no deaths have been reported.