LONDON - A group of 52 British school children and their teachers have been quarantined in Beijing after four pupils were admitted to hospital infected with the H1N1 flu virus, Britain's Foreign Office said Saturday.
The group arrived in China earlier this week for a culture and study tour. But shortly after arrival at Beijing airport, four of the students -- all believed to be teenagers -- were admitted to hospital showing symptoms of swine flu infection.
As a precaution, the remainder of the group was quarantined in their four-star hotel in Beijing.
We can confirm that a group of 52 British school children and teachers are being held in quarantine in their hotel, a Foreign Office spokeswoman said.
In addition, a further four students have been hospitalised and diagnosed with the H1N1 virus.
Consular officials on the ground are in touch with the group and their families, providing consular assistance.
Parents have been told the quarantine should last a week, British media reported.
The students were part of a 1,000-strong group of visitors to China from around the world learning about the country's language and culture. More than 500 Britons in total were on the trip, organised with the help of the British Council.
British authorities confirmed this week that 29 Britons infected with the H1N1 virus had died, with officials making plans for up to a third of the population to fall ill.
In total there are an estimated 55,000 new cases of swine flu in Britain last week, although in the vast majority of cases the symptoms were mild.
The pandemic had killed around 430 people worldwide by early July, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The virus was first detected in Mexico in April, before spreading around the world. The WHO declared a pandemic in June.
(Reporting by Luke Baker; Editing by Richard Balmforth)