Universities across the UK face rise in cases as students return to studies
Manchester Metropolitan University has forced 1,700 students to self-isolate following a coronavirus outbreak. Students living at Birley Halls and Cambridge Halls accommodation blocks are to self-isolate for 14 days after 127 tested positive for the virus.
Subsequent testing revealed that over 40% of residents have Covid-19, with 272 of 640 tests returning positive.
The lockdown is being enforced by security guards patrolling the accommodation, with the University threatening ‘disciplinary action’ against students who breach the requirements.
Megan Tingey, who studies at Manchester Met, told the BBC she was not contacted by the university about the lockdown before police turned up outside her accommodation. “We were getting ready to go out and looked out to security and police outside the halls. They say we can’t leave.”
A similar outbreak is ongoing at the University of Manchester which has recorded over 1,000 cases, prompting a suspension of face-to-face teaching until at least the end of October.
The Universities and Colleges Union, which represents university staff, said the outbreaks “could have been prevented had the decision been taken earlier”.
Manchester now has one of the highest infection rates in the country, at 460 cases per 100,000 people.
Currently, there are 8 active cases of coronavirus among students at QM, and 2 cases among staff.
Outbreaks at other UK universities have also forced students to isolate themselves within halls. At the time of writing, there were lockdowns in effect at Leeds University and Exeter University in England, and Aberdeen University, St Andrews University, Abertay University, Glasgow University, and Edinburgh Napier in Scotland.