University Registrar David Duncan has stated that he is “confident” the the University is adequately preparing for a possible outbreak of the virulent A/H1N1 strain of swine flu.
“I want to reassure people that the University is preparing for a possible pandemic, and all essential services necessary in that event are being identified,” Duncan stated last week.
Duncan chaired a meeting of the University’s Major Incident Response Team (MIRT) on Friday, which included representatives from all major campus services and YUSU.
“We’re very well equipped in the sense of our internal health and safety teams,” Duncan stated, adding that the University was working closely with local and national NHS groups, and following advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Duncan confirmed that currently no regulations have been placed on staff or student travel.
The dedicated MIRT is developing plans to both deal with a potential pandemic in the near future, and any increased danger of a recurrent flu in the winter.
“We are concerned for a move up to a level six [WHO pandemic] level. We also need to prepare for a potential threat in the Autumn, when students are typically most at risk of infection,” Duncan said.
The source of the flu outbreak in humans is thought to have been in Mexico, where 48 deaths have been confirmed and over 1,500 cases have been confirmed in laboratory tests.
There have been no deaths confirmed in the UK, despite 48 laboratory-proven cases across the country. Three schools in London have been closed, with 26 confirmed cases in the capital, while schools have also been closed in South Gloucestershire and Devon.
Health Secretary Alan Johnson has said that the government had boosted its stockpile of antiviral drugs to cover 80% of the population.
Staff and students are advised to seek advice from the Health and Safety pages of the University’s website.