Page last updated at 17:16 GMT, Thursday, 28 May 2009 18:16 UK

Eton shuts as boy gets swine flu

Eton College
Eton College had been due to re-open on Sunday after half-term

Public school Eton will close for a week after a pupil tested positive for swine flu, a school spokesman has said.

The Berkshire boys' school, which was attended by Princes William and Harry, was informed on Wednesday that a 13-year-old boy had tested positive.

Health authorities advised the school to shut until 7 June.

It comes after health officials announced a further 17 people in the UK were diagnosed with the virus, taking the total number of cases to 203.

Fourteen of the new cases - 13 children and one adult - are part of an outbreak now totalling 64 cases linked to Welford Primary School in Birmingham.

Welford is carrying out a "deep clean" while closed for half-term.

Exam season

Two adults in London and a child in east England make up the other new cases of the H1N1 virus, reports the Health Protection Agency (HPA).

The London cases involve one returning traveller and one linked to a previously confirmed case.

Eton College, near Windsor, is currently closed for half-term and had been due to re-open on Sunday 31 May, but will now remain closed for another week.

A school spokesman said the boy had a mild illness and was recovering at home.

It's a balance between minimising the risk of a spread on the one hand - which is the national interest - with this all-important time for boys
Andrew Wynn, Eton bursar

The school's bursar, Andrew Wynn, told the BBC News website the decision to keep the school closed had, in effect, been taken by the Health Protection Agency (HPA).

"The school is hardly likely to ignore the strong advice of the HPA. We have had long discussions all day with them," he said.

"Clearly they are wanting to stop the spread of it."

Boys taking public examinations are being allowed to return to do so under controlled conditions.

"One of the things we have agreed is that boys be allowed back to take their exams," said Mr Wynn.

"So it's a balance between minimising the risk of a spread on the one hand - which is the national interest - with this all-important time for boys."

He said it was too soon to have had any reaction from parents.

Worldwide there have been 95 deaths reported from swine flu and an estimated 13,450 cases.

Eton College was founded by King Henry VI nearly 570 years ago. It has 18 British prime ministers, including the Duke of Wellington, Sir Robert Walpole and Harold MacMillan, among its former pupils.



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