A Wirral school has told a group of pupils to stay at home, as concerns regarding the spread of coronavirus continue to grow.

Hilbre High School in West Kirby issued a letter to parents on Tuesday February 25, telling students to attend school as normal unless they had been on the half-term skiing trip to Northern Italy.

The letter says: "For a small group of our students who travelled to Northern Italy on a ski trip over half term we are giving different advice, which is 'if you have returned from Northern Italy since February 19 and developed symptoms, however mild, you should stay indoors at home and avoid contact with other people immediately and call NHS111. You do not need to follow this advice if you have no symptoms."

It is understood that around 10 Hilbre High School pupils have since been asked to stay off school for two weeks.

On Tuesday, the Italian Civil Protection Agency said that Italy had 322 cases of the virus - the highest number of infections outside Asia.

CNN reported that the cases are heavily concentrated in the region of Lombardy where 212 infections have been confirmed.

In a statement published on the Hilbre High School website on Wednesday February 26, Headteacher Mark Bellamy said: "My decision, following the current advice, is that the school will remain open and there is no reason to send students home.

"Following yesterday’s letter explaining our situation, we have been contacted by a number of you, asking for further information specific to the ski trip. The trip went to Folgarida in the very north of Italy, designated as a category 2 area. Students left on the 13th February and arrived home on the 23rd.

"Some of you are rightly enquiring what we are doing as a school to minimise any risk of Coronavirus.

"Hand sanitizers have been ordered to go all around the school. Students are being instructed, today, about the need to be thorough with their hygiene, wash their hands, cover their mouths when coughing and sneezing, etc. They are all being shown a video produced by the NHS about good hygiene and awareness of Coronavirus symptoms.

"Please be aware that we have been in contact with the parents/carers of the students who went on the trip to Italy and have spoken to the students - we have made it abundantly clear that if there is any suspicion of symptoms presenting, students must stay off school and the school must be notified. We have also insisted that they follow the advice given by NHS111.

"I am following all advice given by the relevant bodies at regional and national level and currently see no reason to close, given this advice. I am confident our actions are appropriate to the situation at present.

"I am, of course conscious of your concerns and will do nothing that would put at risk students or staff. Please be assured that I will make immediate contact, should the situation change."