Coronavirus: Thousands of university students told to self-isolate

Last updated at 13:27
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Up to 1,700 students at Manchester Metropolitan University are self-isolating following an outbreak of coronavirus cases.

It comes after cases have been found at hundreds of other universities, with many in Scotland, including in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Universities UK, the organisation that represents universities, have said the wellbeing of students was "the first priority".

Students at two Manchester Metropolitan University accommodation blocks have been told to stay in their rooms for 14 days, even if they have no symptoms.

The action was taken because 127 students at the University tested positive for coronavirus.

Meanwhile in Scotland, hundreds of university students have tested positive at campuses across the country, with many more having to self-isolate.

At Glasgow University, 120 students tested positive for the virus, with around 600 people self-isolating there.

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University accommodation in Manchester where hundreds of students and have been put into lockdown

University terms have only recently begun, with students returning, or starting new courses, being urged to attend virtual events and avoid big groups.

Students in Scotland have been told not to go to pubs, parties or restaurants.

Universities have now pledged to make it "absolutely clear" to students that there must be no parties.

And they will not be allowed to socialise with people outside of their accommodation.

Students have also been warned that any breaches of the new rules "will not be tolerated".

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Some students feel they have been treated unfairly and have not been given enough information by universities

A number of students have said they are angry and feel they weren't given enough notice about the lockdowns.

Manchester Met said it had got in touch with students as soon as they could, but also admitted that the lockdown had to be implemented very quickly to be effective.

The National Union of Students (NUS) has called for universities to support students with food deliveries and provide access to mental health services.

Two students look out the window of their accommodation at Manchester Metropolitan University
Students in some halls at Manchester Metropolitan University are locked down in halls

The Department for Education said: "Students should follow the latest health advice, just like the wider public, which means they should stay at university in the event that they have symptoms; have to isolate; there are additional restrictions imposed locally; or there is an outbreak on campus or in their accommodation."

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said students were "not to blame" for coronavirus outbreaks but backed universities taking disciplinary action as a "last resort" against those who broke the rules.

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