Manchester Metropolitan University students at two accommodation sites in the city have been instructed to self-isolate for 14 days following a spike in coronavirus cases.

The immediate measures have been introduced at the Birley campus and Cambridge Halls after 127 students tested positive.

It comes as students trapped in a spate of campus Covid outbreaks have slammed universities for opening halls of residents when coronavirus means they’re studying from their rooms. 

Meanwhile students at the University of Manchester were filmed throwing an illegal party outside their student halls.

University of Glasgow student Lucy Owens tested positive for coronavirus just a couple of weeks after arriving at her halls in the now-locked down Murano complex.

She asked on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme: ‘What are we paying for? I could do everything I am doing from my house, so why have they sent us here?

‘I know we’re making the most of this accommodation because we’re stuck in it all day but we’re not really making the most of being at university.

‘Putting two thousand students into such a confined area, something like this was bound to happen.’

Meanwhile footage recorded at 1am this morning showed a large gathering outside of Owens Park halls in Fallowfield, south Manchester, with one clip captioned: ‘Covid wah?’.

Another clip shows a sea of people dancing to music which appears to be coming from a sound system.  

It comes amid a surge in cases across the UK including 558 more in Scotland as students in Scotland were being faced with the prospect of receiving red and yellow cards which will be awarded for breaking Covid rules.

Manchester Metropolitan University (pictured, Cambridge Halls) students at two accommodation sites in the city have been instructed to self-isolate for 14 days following a spike in coronavirus cases

Manchester Metropolitan University (pictured, Cambridge Halls) students at two accommodation sites in the city have been instructed to self-isolate for 14 days following a spike in coronavirus cases

The immediate measures have been introduced at the Birley campus (pictured) and Cambridge Halls after 127 students tested positive

The immediate measures have been introduced at the Birley campus (pictured) and Cambridge Halls after 127 students tested positive

One clip shows a sea of people dancing to music which appears to be coming from a sound system

Students at the University of Manchester have been filmed throwing an illegal party at 1am this morning outside of Owens Park halls in Fallowfield, south Manchester

The cards are meant to act as a warning at first but universities say they will not hesitate to scale up to disciplinary action if necessary.

The move has been welcomed by Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon who said that discipline is necessary for those students who are ‘flagrantly breaching rules’. 

Students at the University of Manchester have been filmed throwing an illegal party

Students at the University of Manchester have been filmed throwing an illegal party

But with at least 362 confirmed coronavirus cases at universities across the UK, Sage’s Sir Mark Walport has warned that infected students could be prevented from returning home at Christmas. 

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘If students are infected when it comes near to the end of term they may have to remain where they are.’

Some students have said that catching coronavirus upon their return to university was ‘inevitable’.

One student who stays at Glasgow University’s Murano Street Student Village, which can house 1,175 students, said that ‘it was bound to happen’ with so many people concentrated in such a small area.

Universities in Glasgow and Edinburgh have seen the greatest number of university cases: 124 and 120 respectively. 

Despite warnings, a group of students at the University of Manchester held an illegal party outside of their student accommodation during the early hours of this morning.

Video footage showed a crowd of students dancing to music, with one clip captioned: ‘Covid wah?’. 

Responding to the incident, a University of Manchester statement said: ‘We are aware of this party and our security services worked with Greater Manchester Police to shut it down.

‘This behaviour is totally unacceptable and the University strongly condemns it.

‘We have been clear and consistent with our messaging around student conduct and behaviour in halls and we will be working hard to identify those involved.

A student walks past a sign at Murano Street Student Village in Glasgow, where university students are being tested at a pop up test centre

A student walks past a sign at Murano Street Student Village in Glasgow, where university students are being tested at a pop up test centre

A University of Manchester statement said: 'Details of offending students are being recorded and a number of these will now go through our disciplinary process.' Pictured: Owens Park halls in Fallowfield, south Manchester

A University of Manchester statement said: ‘Details of offending students are being recorded and a number of these will now go through our disciplinary process.’ Pictured: Owens Park halls in Fallowfield, south Manchester

A sign saying 'help us, send beer' at Murano Street Student Village in Glasgow, where Glasgow University students are being tested at a pop up test centre today

A sign saying ‘help us, send beer’ at Murano Street Student Village in Glasgow, where Glasgow University students are being tested at a pop up test centre today

One student, 18, who has now been isolating for nearly a monthsays that catching coronavirus after returning to university was 'inevitable'. The teenager is staying in an eight-person flat in Glasgow University's Murano Street Student Village, which houses 1,175 students

One student, 18, who has now been isolating for nearly a monthsays that catching coronavirus after returning to university was ‘inevitable’. The teenager is staying in an eight-person flat in Glasgow University’s Murano Street Student Village, which houses 1,175 students

‘Our students must respect social distancing rules and all other restrictions to keep themselves and others safe.

‘If students do not comply, they will face disciplinary action from the University, which could lead to fines or expulsion, and we will not hesitate to involve the police if necessary.

‘Some students have already been issued with fixed penalty notices by the police.

‘Additional security officers have been deployed in Fallowfield and further reminders sent.

‘Details of offending students are being recorded and a number of these will now go through our disciplinary process.’

Greater Manchester Police said that officers were called out around 1.20am this morning and that they seized music equipment before dispersing attendees. 

Around 600 students are self-isolating at Glasgow University, which has set up its own mobile testing unit, while students are warned not to attend parties and pubs this weekend

Around 600 students are self-isolating at Glasgow University, which has set up its own mobile testing unit, while students are warned not to attend parties and pubs this weekend

At least a dozen other universities in England and Wales have brought in their own testing facilities to monitor for potential outbreaks

At least a dozen other universities in England and Wales have brought in their own testing facilities to monitor for potential outbreaks 

Student Safe Lead, Inspector Shoheb Chowdhury of GMP’s City of Manchester Division, said: ‘We appreciate that the student experience is very different to usual this year, particularly for those beginning new courses and who would usually be enjoying freshers’ week.

‘We have taken a very measured approach to breaches we’ve encountered, taking care to engage and explain the importance of following social distancing and current local lockdown guidance.

Forcing students to stay in halls over Christmas risks their mental health, Cardiff University vice chancellor warns 

Forcing students to stay ‘cooped up’ in their halls over Christmas if there are coronavirus outbreaks is ‘impractical’ and could lead to mental health problems, a university vice-chancellor has said. 

Professor Colin Riordan, president and vice-chancellor at Cardiff University, warned that it would be ‘extremely difficult’ to handle the situation and would cause ‘an awful lot of stress’.

His comments come after Sir Mark Walport, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said students may have to remain at university if they become infected at the end of term to prevent them from spreading the infection to other parts of the country and other communities.

Prof Riordan said: ‘I feel it’s impractical to say to students they need to stay over Christmas if they don’t want to. I don’t know how we would enforce that, or where we get the authority to do that, so that would have to be a matter for Welsh Government.’

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has not ruled out the prospect of asking students to stay on campus over Christmas amid coronavirus clusters in university halls.

Prof Riordan added: ‘I really personally hope that we don’t end up in that situation because it would be extremely difficult to handle.

‘It would cause an awful lot of stress and you know there’s a potential for mental health problems telling people they have got to be cooped up in their student room over Christmas.’ 

‘However, where necessary we are prepared to issue Fixed Penalty Notices, and in the seven days preceding 23 September, 29 FPNs were issued to students across the City of Manchester Division.

‘We continue to work positively with our partners across the higher education sector to drive home the importance of following restrictions.

‘We’d encourage all students to consider the potentially negative impact on their education – not to mention their health and that of their loved ones – before attending gatherings that break the law.’

The University of Manchester has also warned that students could be made subject to a curfew following a ‘significant’ number of coronavirus breaches.

Bosses said ‘active consideration’ is now being given to the introduction of a curfew across halls, or other restrictive measures.

Earlier this week, four students in Fallowfield were fined by the police after organising an ‘after the pub party’.

Each student was handed a £100 fixed penalty notice from officers for not adhering to social distancing guidelines.

And at Birley Halls, accommodation for Manchester Metropolitan University students, residents claim around 100 people were partying till the early hours of the morning last Monday and Tuesday night.

A GMP sergeant tweeted last week: ‘Shocked at the arrogance, ignorance & selfishness of some of the freshers in Manchester.

‘When you’re asked to follow the Covid rules, do as you’re told. If you refuse, resulting in being told to leave, don’t kick off! Your actions are risking bars / pubs being closed!’.

Some students however have said they felt ‘on edge’ and like they had been unfairly targeted throughout the coronavirus crisis so far.

One fresher said: ‘It’s a bit weird. The first few weeks are about meeting people and obviously it’s so hard to do that.

‘Everyone is a bit on edge. ‘

The video comes as Scottish students are being threatened with a strict ‘red and yellow card’ system for breaking Covid-19 rules as they’re banned from parties and pubs.

It follows the news that at least a dozen universities in England and Wales have set up their own testing facilities, as outbreaks are reported on 17 UK campuses. 

Up to 125 students have contacted coronavirus across three universities in Edinburgh in another blow for Scottish universities after outbreaks in Glasgow, Dundee, Fife and Aberdeen. 

Institutions have said they will make it ‘absolutely clear’ for those studying that parties will not be tolerated – as a SAGE scientist warned students could be kept on campus over Christmas where outbreaks occur. 

Sir Mark Walport told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘The one thing that we don’t want is for an outbreak of coronavirus in a university to then result in students going home and spreading that infection to other parts of the country and other communities, to their parents, to their grandparents.

‘If students are infected when it comes near to the end of term they may have to remain where they are.’ 

At least 362 cases of coronavirus have been diagnosed among the UK’s student population, but none of them are thought to have been hospitalised by the virus.

UK universities to report Covid-19 cases 

Aberdeen – Number unconfirmed

Nottingham – One student

Liverpool – 80 students, seven staff

Edinburgh – 120 students at Edinburgh Napier, five at the University of Edinburgh and Queen Margaret University

Dundee – Four students at Abertay University

Fife – Four cases at St Andrews University

Glasgow – 124 cases

Exeter – Number unconfirmed

Canterbury – Two cases at University of Kent

Manchester – ‘Several cases’ at Manchester Metropolitan University

Leeds – Six cases

De Montfort – Two confirmed cases

Warwick – One confirmed case

Swansea – 12 confirmed cases

Bristol – One confirmed case at the University of the West of England  

Universities Scotland yesterday outlined new rules for students in the North of the UK, instructing them not to attend hospitality businesses and not to mix outside their household. 

The new rules say institutions will ‘make absolutely clear to students that there must be no parties, and no socialising outside their households’.

They add: ‘This weekend, the first of the new tighter Scottish government guidance, we will require students to avoid all socialising outside of their households and outside of their accommodation.

‘We will ask them not to go to bars or other hospitality venues.’

It warned of taking a two-strike approaches to anyone breaking the rules, saying: ‘We will take a strict ‘Yellow Card/Red Card’ approach to breaches of student discipline that put students and others at risk. 

‘While we first want to advise students about breaches of discipline, we will not hesitate to escalate this to disciplinary action including potential discontinuation of study.’ 

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has backed the new measures and said that discipline is necessary for those students who are ‘flagrantly breaching rules’.

Asked if she supports such a tough stance, Ms Sturgeon said: ‘Yes I do support universities taking disciplinary action as a last resort, and as a back stop.

‘I would not expect universities – and I spoke to principals this morning and I know this is not their intention – to use discipline as a first resort.

‘But as with the police, if you have people who are just flagrantly breaching rules then of course discipline and enforcement has to be part of the answer.’

The National Union of Students has claimed students are being ‘unfairly’ blamed for spreading the disease, and it condemned the ‘unjustified step of applying different rules to students over and above the rest of the adult population’.

But hundreds of students are currently self-isolating after outbreaks of the virus at Glasgow, Edinburgh Napier and other universities.

The latest daily coronavirus figures also show a rise in positivity rates – with almost one in 10 (9.5%) of those tested confirmed as having Covid-19.

In response to this, Sturgeon also expressed her sympathies for students, many of whom will be staying away from home for the first time and insisted that the decision to allow students to return wasn’t linked to the loss of income potentially seen by universities if students had stayed away. 

She said she did not want to ‘underplay the significance’ of asking students not to visit pubs this weekend, but said it is not the only difficult request she has made during the pandemic.

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (pictured) has backed the new measures and said that discipline is necessary for those students who are 'flagrantly breaching rules'

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (pictured) has backed the new measures and said that discipline is necessary for those students who are ‘flagrantly breaching rules’

Nicola Sturgeon backs disciplinary action as a ‘last resort’ against students

Nicola Sturgeon has backed disciplinary action being taken as a ‘last resort’ against students who breach new rules aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19 on university campuses.

Speaking as the daily increase in cases reached a record high, with 558 Scots testing positive in the past 24 hours, the First Minister said that for those who are ‘flagrantly breaching rules, then of course discipline and enforcement has to be part of the answer’.

University principals – backed by the Scottish Government – have made it ‘absolutely clear’ to students that they must not take part in house parties.

As part of efforts to prevent outbreaks in university campuses from spreading into the wider population, all students are being asked to avoid pubs this weekend.

Nicola Sturgeon (pictured) has backed disciplinary action being taken as a 'last resort' against students who breach new rules aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19 on university campuses

Nicola Sturgeon (pictured) has backed disciplinary action being taken as a ‘last resort’ against students who breach new rules aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19 on university campuses

In addition, universities will adopt a ‘yellow card/red card’ approach to breaches of discipline, with students warned the consequences could include ‘potential discontinuation of study’.

Bruce Adamson, the Children and Young People’s Commissioner for Scotland, has raised concerns about the human rights implications of such measures, saying he is seeking an ‘urgent conversation’ with ministers and universities ‘to establish the nature and legal basis for these restrictions’.

Asked if she supports such a tough stance, Ms Sturgeon said: ‘Yes I do support universities taking disciplinary action as a last resort, and as a back stop.

‘I would not expect universities – and I spoke to principals this morning and I know this is not their intention – to use discipline as a first resort.

‘But as with the police, if you have people who are just flagrantly breaching rules then of course discipline and enforcement has to be part of the answer.’

The National Union of Students has claimed students are being ‘unfairly’ blamed for spreading the disease, and it condemned the ‘unjustified step of applying different rules to students over and above the rest of the adult population’.

Ms Sturgeon also expressed sympathy for students, many of whom will be living away from home for the first time and could being having to self-isolate in halls of residence. Pictured: Glasgow University's cloisters

Ms Sturgeon also expressed sympathy for students, many of whom will be living away from home for the first time and could being having to self-isolate in halls of residence. Pictured: Glasgow University’s cloisters

But hundreds of students are currently self-isolating after outbreaks of the virus at Glasgow, Edinburgh Napier and other universities.

The latest daily coronavirus figures also show a rise in positivity rates – with almost one in 10 (9.5%) of those tested confirmed as having Covid-19.

At her coronavirus briefing on Friday, Ms Sturgeon also expressed sympathy for students, many of whom will be living away from home for the first time and could being having to self-isolate in halls of residence.

She insisted the decision to allow students to return to campus was not linked to the drop in income universities would have suffered had they been told to stay away.

Describing herself as the ‘devoted auntie’ of someone who has just left home to go to university, she told students directly: ‘I am so sorry, so heart sorry, that this time of your lives is being made as tough as it is just now.

She said the Scottish Government is considering whether self-isolating students could be allowed to return to their family homes. Pictured: A bar in Bristo Square, Edinburgh, which is part of the University of Edinburgh's Student Village

She said the Scottish Government is considering whether self-isolating students could be allowed to return to their family homes. Pictured: A bar in Bristo Square, Edinburgh, which is part of the University of Edinburgh’s Student Village

‘I really feel for you, but I feel especially for those of you starting university for the first time and, of course, living alone for the first time.’

She said the Scottish Government is considering whether self-isolating students could be allowed to return to their family homes, adding guidance on this may be issued over the weekend.

But she cautioned: ‘I’m going to be frank, that’s a difficult balancing act, because if you go home after you’ve been asked to self-isolate that may have implications for your family, who then also may be asked to self-isolate if you test positive.’

She said she did not want to ‘underplay the significance’ of asking students not to visit pubs this weekend, but said it is not the only difficult request she has made during the pandemic.

Ms Sturgeon said: ‘I have asked people for six months now not to visit their vulnerable relatives in care homes.

‘I’m having to ask people to do really difficult things all of the time.

‘So I am asking all students for a weekend to not go to pubs, and hopefully that will help us stem these outbreaks.’

Ms Sturgeon said: ‘I have asked people for six months now not to visit their vulnerable relatives in care homes.

‘I’m having to ask people to do really difficult things all of the time.

‘So I am asking all students for a weekend to not go to pubs, and hopefully that will help us stem these outbreaks.’       

The new measures come as the likes of Nottingham University set up its own testing facilities to monitor for an outbreak, while Exeter has brought in its own private tests. 

Professor Jonathan Ball from Nottingham University said its scheme had potentially prevented an outbreak. 

He told BBC Radio 4: ‘We’ve had a pilot running with vet students they started towards the end of July, we’ve been weekly testing them and they’ve been taking their own swabs. 

‘We’ve had a single case that was an asymptomatic person, because of our advice they isolated, their household isolated. We’ve continued testing three weeks on and we’ve had no more cases.

Students may have to spend Christmas on campus to avoid infecting parents with Covid, warns SAGE expert 

A scientist advising the Government has said university students may have to be told to stay on campus over Christmas in the events of coronavirus outbreaks.

Sir Mark Walport, who is on the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘There’s absolutely no doubt about that and we’ve seen that from universities across the world.

‘There was a paper published, endorsed by Sage, at the beginning of September that noted there was a significant risk that higher education could amplify local and national transmission.

‘Universities are very large communities, they bring together people from across the country and they’re far from monastic communities these days.

‘The one thing that we don’t want is for an outbreak of coronavirus in a university to then result in students going home and spreading that infection to other parts of the country and other communities, to their parents, to their grandparents.

‘If students are infected when it comes near to the end of term they may have to remain where they are.’   

‘We were able to identify it quickly and potentially stop an outbreak before it started.’

If a positive test is returned at the university, it has to apply for a pillar two test from the Government, in order for it to be officially registered as part of the track and trace system. 

Professor Powell explained why the scheme was so important: ‘It’s been known for sometime that universities are particularly high risk settings. When you have lots of very young people very often somebody who’s infected at that age will show very mild symptoms and often no symptoms at all so they won’t even know they’re infected.

‘We’re asking them to live together in fairly large numbers so there is the potential for rapid spread of the virus and therefore we need to be aware of that and do all we can to control that.’ 

So far the majority of outbreaks have been recorded in Scotland, but there have been student Covid-19 cases at universities in Leeds, Exeter, Liverpool and Manchester. 

Students in Scotland put up post-it notes in their windows, with one writing ‘Send drink’ and another lamenting the fact they could not smoke while in isolation.

At least 600 have had to confine themselves to their student accommodation after 124 students caught the virus at the Glasgow university.

This has led to some students suggesting that catching coronavirus after returning to university was ‘inevitable’. 

One student, 18, said she has now been isolating for nearly a month, having been placed in an initial 14-day quarantine on arrival from California.

The teenager and three other people in her eight-person flat in Glasgow University’s Murano Street Student Village have now tested positive for Covid-19.

The complex is the university’s largest halls of residence and can house 1,175 students.

She said: ‘With this many kids in this small an area, it was bound to happen.

‘We have it, so the negative people are cooking. They will drop off food outside our doors.

‘It’s really hard not to mix, our kitchen is small and we have to share a bathroom. We’ve been wearing masks.’

Meanwhile Mr Hancock said he does not want students to have to stay at their institutions over the Christmas break.

He said: ‘I don’t want to have a situation like that, and I very much hope we can avoid it,’ he said.

Asked if it was under consideration, he said: ‘I’ve learned not to rule things out. And one of the challenges we have is making sure that people are as safe as possible and that includes not spreading between the generations, but… this is not our goal.’

Earlier this week it was revealed 500 students were self-isolating at Abertay University in Dundee after one confirmed case, while 80 students and seven staff were confirmed to have coronavirus at the University of Liverpool. 

There have also been ‘a number’ of confirmed cases at Aberdeen University. 

The outbreaks across Scotland have prompted a strong warning against house parties. 

Students living in IQ Parker House Students accommodation in Dundee were asked to self isolate due to an outbreak. They entertained themselves by posting messages on the windows

Students living in IQ Parker House Students accommodation in Dundee were asked to self isolate due to an outbreak. They entertained themselves by posting messages on the windows

At least 80 students at Liverpool University have contracted coronavirus, along with seven staff

At least 80 students at Liverpool University have contracted coronavirus, along with seven staff

During yesterday’s coronavirus briefing national clinical director, Jason Leitch, said: ‘We need you not to have house parties, I could not be more clear.’

Nicola Sturgeon said the ‘significant outbreak at the University of Glasgow’ had impacted on the daily Covid-19 infection figure for the NHS Greater Glasgow area.

A total of 224 cases were recorded across the health board area in the past day, she said.

Prof Leitch said he had spoken to student leaders about the latest restrictions on Tuesday through the National Union of Students.

Infected students say coronavirus outbreaks were ‘inevitable’ at universities 

Students who contracted coronavirus after starting university have said an outbreak in their accommodation was inevitable.

One student said she has now been isolating for nearly a month, having been placed in an initial 14-day quarantine on arrival from California.

The teenager and three other people in her eight-person flat in Glasgow University’s Murano Street Student Village have now tested positive for Covid-19.

The complex is the university’s largest halls of residence and can house 1,175 students.

The 18-year-old, who is studying international relations and sociology, said she is having to wash her clothes in the sink as the laundry is outside the flat.

The residents of the flat had already been isolating for five days when she received her positive test result on Friday morning.

She said: ‘With this many kids in this small an area, it was bound to happen.

The teenager and three other people in her eight-person flat in Glasgow University's Murano Street Student Village (pictured) have now tested positive for Covid-19

The teenager and three other people in her eight-person flat in Glasgow University’s Murano Street Student Village (pictured) have now tested positive for Covid-19

‘We have it, so the negative people are cooking. They will drop off food outside our doors.

‘It’s really hard not to mix, our kitchen is small and we have to share a bathroom. We’ve been wearing masks.’

She said she has been getting support from her family and new flatmates.

‘I’ve been watching a lot of movies and just trying to focus on other things,’ she added.

One flatmate, 19, from London, who also tested positive on Friday morning, said he arrived late to the flat and it had already been placed in isolation.

He said: ‘It’s freshers’ week – it just happens. You couldn’t stop it if you tried.

‘I was washing my hands everywhere I went.

‘I’m sort of glad I’ve got it so it’s out the way.’

The flatmates had already booked a test at Glasgow Caledonian University in another part of the city before they discovered a mobile testing unit had been set up at Murano Street.

Another student in separate accommodation at the complex said there had been some positive cases in her 12-person flat, but she had tested negative.

The 19-year-old from London, who is studying medicine, said: ‘The uni put in place all the precautions they could, but things happen.

‘As much as it’s horrible to have to be isolating already, we’re still getting to know each other so it’s not as bad as it could be.’



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