Coronavirus: Newcastle church member 'had no symptoms' at worship

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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in FawdonImage source, Google
Image caption,
The man would have gone anywhere, the church said

A church which had to close because a member of its congregation tested positive for coronavirus said he had no symptoms when he attended worship.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Newcastle will shut until the end of March but is not believed to be where the man contracted the virus.

Public Health England (PHE) has spoken to those he come into contact with.

"Had he not come to church, he would have gone somewhere else," the church's representative Scott Spencer said.

He said the initial reaction was that it was "going to reflect terribly on the church".

"But he could have gone to the Metro Centre, he could have gone to a Newcastle match," he said.

Mr Spencer said the church, in Fawdon, was aware it would be scrutinised by people keen to know if they are at risk.

"Our obligation is just to react responsibly and take the necessary precautions," he said.

"We are mindful of the individual who is currently affected by this virus and are providing whatever support we can to them and their family.

"The members of our church have expressed their love and concern for them and we are praying for their welfare and swift recovery."

The man attended church last Sunday and his child went to a party at Newcastle soft-play venue New Adventurelands the previous day.

The parent's test results were confirmed on Wednesday and the soft-play business closed for a precautionary deep-clean.

New Adventurelands said it had reopened after PHE said there was no risk and it could open as normal.

PHE advised it anyone at risk had already been contacted and asked to self-quarantine, the venue said.

Northumberland County Council said no-one at the child's school, Cragside Primary in Cramlington, had been diagnosed with coronavirus or was showing symptoms.

A "very small number" of families were self-isolating as a preventative measure, it said.

A second case of coronavirus in Newcastle, a close contact of the first, was confirmed on Friday.

Newcastle City Council's director of public health, Prof Eugene Milne, said the risk to people in the city was low.

Neither case has required hospital treatment and both adults are self-isolating.

"No other positive cases have been identified at this point among tested contacts," Prof Milne said.

The number of coronavirus cases in the UK has reached 206 - a rise of 43 since figures were released on Friday.