A SOUTHAMPTON school has been evacuated after pupils were put in isolation over coronavirus fears.

St Mary’s Independent School in Bitterne Park is currently on lockdown following the discovery.

Parents rushed to ferry their children away after students at the school were struck down with symptoms similar to the virus.

Pupils from the Midanbury Lane school have since put themselves in isolation following checks by medical professionals at Southampton General Hospital.

The school will be closed while it is deep cleaned and to remove any potential traces of the virus.

St Mary’s has been in contact with Public Health England which is monitoring the situation.

The news comes as it was revealed eight people in the UK have now been diagnosed with the virus, with five of those closely linked to a businessman who was told he had it last week in Brighton.

A statement sent to parents from headteacher Claire Charlemagne says: “I am sorry to inform you that a family with children at the prep and senior departments who have recently travelled to the region affected by coronavirus have developed symptoms similar to those presenting with the coronavirus, and having been checked by medical professionals at Southampton General Hospital have been placed in isolation [outside the hospital].

“As a school, our first priority is to keep our children and community safe.

“We have taken advice on this situation from Public Health England and the Natural Health Service.

“We have been advised that we need to take all steps reasonably practicable to prevent the spread of this virus.

“We have therefore taken the decision to close the school immediately in order to undertake a thorough deep clean, and to allow any potential traces of the virus to be removed.

“We will close Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.”

The school is based on 17 acres of land and its website says it provides a “warm and caring environment where pupils achieve some of the best results in the country.

On Twitter, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Clinical advice has not changed about the risk to the public, which remains moderate.

“The transmission of coronavirus would constitute a serious threat - so I am taking action to protect the public and isolate those at risk of spreading the virus.”

In the UK, a University of York student and their relative are still being treated at the Royal Victoria Infirmary infectious diseases centre in Newcastle.

There have been more than 40,000 cases of the virus globally while the death toll in China now stands at 908.

Of the latest four cases diagnosed in England on Monday, Dr Nick Phin, deputy director of the National Infection Service at Public Health England, said: “These new cases are all closely linked and were rapidly identified through Public Health England’s comprehensive contact tracing approach.”