Worrying new details emerge after three high school students diagnosed with coronavirus

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  • Brad Hazzard
    New South Wales politician

Concerning new details have emerged after three school students tested positive for the deadly coronavirus in NSW.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said on Monday two year 10 students from St Patrick’s Marist College in Dundas – in Sydney’s northern suburbs district – were confirmed to have COVID-19.

The fathers of the 14-year-old boy and 15-year-old girl have now been confirmed as also having the disease.

A Year 7 student at Willoughby Girls High School has tested positive for coronavirus. Source: Google Maps
A Year 7 student at Willoughby Girls High School has tested positive for coronavirus. Source: Google Maps

Additionally, a 12-year-old year 7 pupil from Willoughby Girls High School has tested positive for coronavirus.

Her mother – who is of Iranian background but hasn't travelled recently – has also been diagnosed with the virus.

They are among seven new cases of the virus in NSW including a woman in her 30s who has recently returned from the Philippines.

‘It's not a light-hearted matter’

There are 47 confirmed cases in the state, with two residents at a Sydney aged care home having died from the virus.

Students in NSW have been warned that coronavirus is "no joke" and although their symptoms are likely to be mild the virus could be a lot worse for their mothers and fathers and other older relatives.

As the three children tested positive for the virus parents were told to pick up their children from school as soon as possible and said they would be closed on Tuesday.

A boy and a girl from Year 10 at St Patrick’s Marist College both have coronavirus. Source: Google Maps
A boy and a girl from Year 10 at St Patrick’s Marist College both have coronavirus. Source: Google Maps

"This is likely to be the new norm," Mr Hazzard told reporters on Monday afternoon.

"We have established now a clear orthodoxy. If a child ... or a staff member or any other person within a school is found to have the COVID-19 virus then effectively a breather will be taken and a day out will be the immediate requirement."

The minister said the virus generally impacted young people "in a very, very light way".

"The symptoms are not profound and they might see it as simply being a light cold," Mr Hazzard said.

"But it's no joking matter. It's not a light-hearted matter."

The minister said students were "lucky enough" to be in a group unlikely to suffer serious consequences "your mums, your dads, your grandparents, your aunties and your uncles might be in a different position".

Both co-ed St Patrick's and Willoughby Girls were closed on Monday and will remain shut on Tuesday as NSW Health tracks who may have been in contact with the infected students.

‘It’s not a situation for being rude or offensive’

The health minister urged people to remain calm after two women were charged over a fight which broke out in a Sydney supermarket over toilet paper at the weekend.

"This is not a situation for overreaction, it's not a situation for being rude or offensive," Mr Hazzard said.

The majority of cases in NSW are people who have recently travelled overseas, but it's anticipated there'll be an increase in community transmission as the virus progresses.

NSW opposition health spokesman Ryan Park called on the Berejiklian government to launch a public health campaign to combat misinformation surrounding COVID-19.

The Labor MP also called for greater protection for hospital staff.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard says coronavirus is 'no joke'. Source: AAP
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard says coronavirus is 'no joke'. Source: AAP

Meanwhile, Sydney's Epping Boys High School re-opened on Monday after a one-day closure on Friday because a 16-year-old student was diagnosed with the virus.

The school said on Facebook that the education department and NSW Health have been working to identify all people who had close contact with the year 11 student.

They're being asked to self-isolate for 14 days.

NSW Health said St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney is also contacting patients after a man in his 70s visited the emergency department on Friday and was diagnosed with COVID-19.

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