School warns parents after 'coronavirus-infected asylum seekers staying at hotel' use same bus stop as pupils
A SCHOOL has warned parents after asylum seekers said to be infected with coronavirus shared a bus stop with a number of schoolgirls.
The health scare was caused after a group of refugees congregated at the bus stop despite being under strict rules to self-isolate in a hotel.
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A headteacher for St Paul’s School for Girls issued an alert to parents as Birmingham today went into local lockdown.
Dr Dawn Casserly warned: "Last week, the Strathallan Hotel changed occupancy and is now a centre for asylum seekers.
"We are aware that numerous occupants have Covid and unfortunately have been trying to access the bus stop on the Hagley Road at the same time as our girls."
Asylum seekers were moved to the four-star Strathallan Hotel in Edgbaston after 56 staff and residents tested positive at a nearby hostel this month.
The Serco-run Stone Road Asylum Centre was shut until further notice following the outbreak.
Residents were told to self-isolate for two weeks in the 135-bed Strathallan – a Best Western ‘Signature’ hotel – amid concerns over a rising infection rate in the city.
But many were pictured coming and going from the hotel.
Dr Casserly warned parents not to let their children "go anywhere near" the hotel.
She said in the letter, sent last week: "The Police are very much aware of our concerns and there will continue to be a staff and Police presence at the bus stop outside the Strathallan Hotel on the side of Hagley Road going into town.
"However I strongly advise that your daughter does NOT go anywhere near the Strathallan Hotel and certainly NEVER goes into the car park."
In the memo, which gave pupils alternative travel options, Dr Casserly warned: "It is best for your daughter to avoid the Strathallan completely."
Two asylum seekers outside the hotel said they had been moved there from the Stone confirmed that they had been moved from the Stone Road site.
One onlooker last week told how they had seen residents leave the premises.
They said: "I saw loads of people hanging around outside, all on their mobile phones.
"A couple of them got on the bus into town, others were smoking and drinking coffee.
"Many of them were just going about their business. I saw a few walking to the big Morrisons supermarket down the road.
"You’d think there would be someone policing it and making sure the rules were followed – but it looked like they could do what they liked.
"The busiest part of Birmingham is only a 20-minute walk away."
The Home Office said asylum seekers were given coronavirus guidance in their own language and "reminded of the importance of self-isolating".
A spokesman said: "The safety and wellbeing of asylum seekers and the local communities in which they live is of the utmost importance.
"We are aware that a number of residents at Stone Road have tested positive for Covid-19.
"All individuals have been moved to alternate accommodation where they can safely self-isolate and Stone Road has been temporarily closed.
"Residents have been reminded of the importance of self-isolating and taking necessary precautions in the alternate accommodation, such as wearing masks and washing hands."
Council leaders in Birmingham have pressed pause on accepting any more asylum seekers while the city remains under lockdown.
The ramped-up rules, which also come into force today in neighbouring Sandwell and Solihull, mean a ban on different households meeting indoors – except for those in a support bubble.
A council spokesman said: “The Home Office and its contractors are responsible for the management and relocation of those that were affected and we expect the Home Office to ensure they are following public health guidance on self-isolation.
“Birmingham City Council will continue to take any action necessary to protect our citizens.”
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