TWO Poole schools, whose pupils have just returned from half-term trips to northern Italy, have contacted parents to allay coronavirus concerns.

Students from Poole Grammar School and St Aldhem's Academy took separate skiing trips to areas at least 100 miles outside the region currently locked-down by Italian officials.

However, head teachers from both schools – who confirm no pupils have shown any symptoms to be concerned about – have moved to reassure parents that government guidelines are being adhered to.

St Aldhem's Academy principal Jon Webb, writing to parents, said: "As you are aware a group of our pupils went skiing in northern Italy (Aosta) during half term and we have therefore confirmed with Public Health England the advice that we should be following.

"Their current advice is that if anyone has travelled from Northern Italy – defined by a line above, and not including, Pisa, Florence and Rimini –since February 19 and develops flu like symptoms, including a fever, cough or difficulty breathing (even if the symptoms are minor) they should stay indoors and avoid contact with people for fourteen days ."

Mr Webb also confirmed that no St Aldhem's Academy students had displayed any symptoms to cause concern.

A separate school party, from Poole Grammar School, has also returned from Bardonecchia, northern Italy.

Poole Grammar School head teacher Andy Baker said that while some illness was experienced during the trip, it was no more than on previous visits.

Mr Baker said: "We did indeed run a ski trip to Italy during half term – I was a staff member on the trip.

"We have taken the precaution of contacting the families of boys who we know were unwell during the trip to check their current health. We have also contacted the parents of all boys on the trip to suggest that they seek medical advice should they be concerned about their son.

"Currently, we have no plans to close the school, but will be keeping the situation under review."

Italy has the highest confirmed number of coronavirus cases in Europe, with 152. At least three people have also died.

Strict quarantine restrictions have been imposed in two northern regions close to Milan and Venice.

Around 50,000 people cannot enter or leave several towns in Veneto and Lombardy for the next two weeks without special permission.

Elsewhere in the UK schoolchildren returning home from northern Italy have been sent home, with a number of schools being affected.

But Mr Webb reiterated the St Aldhem's trip was well outside of the Italian areas currently in lockdown

He said: "There have been no school trips to these specific areas during half term.

"We will continue to monitor the health of all pupils and will issue further guidance as and when we receive it."

Meanwhile, as cases continue to be confirmed in countries around the globe, the World Health Organisation has said countries should do more to prepare for a possible coronavirus pandemic.

In China, the original source of the virus, more than 77,000 have the disease and more than 2,600 have died.

As the Echo went to press more than 1,200 cases had been confirmed in 30 other countries.