Coronavirus: Newcastle students' arrival a 'serious problem'

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University life in Newcastle is set to be different to previous years

The arrival of 50,000 students amid rising numbers of Covid cases will be a "serious problem" for Newcastle, its public health chief has warned.

Prof Eugene Milne has urged students in the city to act responsibly to protect themselves and others.

Figures show Newcastle has an infection rate of 48 per 100,000 people.

Newcastle and Northumbria universities are due to begin terms in the next few weeks - both say they have detailed plans for a Covid-safe return.

Mr Milne, public health director at Newcastle City Council, told councillors: "I won't pretend that we can predict or know all of those consequences.

"At the start of term, registration and Freshers' Week, they will be receiving packs and advice and support so they understand both the way things need to operate on campus and our expectations of their behaviour in the community as part of the city."

He added he would like to see testing sites set up for students as well as a "properly working app" to track new cases, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

Newcastle City Council reported last week there had been 145 new cases in the previous seven days, equating to 48 cases per 100,000 people - with 60% of new cases involving people aged 18 to 30.

Newcastle University is staggering its induction across three weeks, starting on 28 September and has plans covering "a full range of scenarios".

Northumbria University said it was "Covid-ready" with a "broad range of enhanced safety measures in place" for arrivals from 21 September, including timetables designed to minimise queuing and the introduction of social "bubbles".

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