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Coronavirus: Hundreds of students ordered to self-isolate after Covid case in Dundee

Following other outbreaks in Scottish universities, Dundee students are self-isolating while NHS Tayside investigate 

Daisy Lester
Wednesday 23 September 2020 13:08 BST
All 500 residents of the Parker House student halls have been asked to quarantine
All 500 residents of the Parker House student halls have been asked to quarantine (Alan Richardson)

Five-hundred students in Dundee, Scotland, have been asked to self-isolate after a positive case of coronavirus was reported.

Hundreds of residents of Parker House student accommodation are now under strict quarantine measures amid fears of an outbreak in the halls due to a number of other suspected cases.

Students returned to Dundee’s socially distanced campuses earlier this month. Due to the higher risk of transmission in closely shared student accommodation, NHS Tayside has asked all 500 residents of the halls to self-isolate.

Dr Daniel Chandler, Associate Director of Public Health with NHS Tayside, said, “We know from outbreaks in other university settings across Scotland that the virus can spread very quickly in student accommodation.”

He added, “As a precautionary measure, we are contacting all residents of Parker House and advising them to self-isolate immediately.”

“Further investigation and contact tracing are continuing and we will review this advice in the coming days. It is really important that any residents who develop symptoms book a test as soon as possible.”

The Dundee students will no longer have to self-isolate after the contact tracing has been carried out, with those showing symptoms being strongly urged to book a test quickly.

The individual who tested positive is a student of Abertay University and all their close contacts are also being asked to self-isolate for 14 days.

Professor Nigel Seaton, Principle of Abertay University, said “Our students in Parker House are being supported to self-isolate safely and we will remain in regular daily contact with them.”

He added, “The University already has enhanced cleaning and safety measures in place on campus, in line with national guidance, and the campus will remain open.”

This outbreak follows a similar occurrence in Glasgow student accommodation this week, where more than 20 students tested positive for Covid-19 with many more self-isolating.

A spokesperson for the University said, “The households affected are all self-isolating and have access to sufficient food and supplies.”

Elsewhere in Scotland, the principal and vice-chancellor of the University of Aberdeen confirmed a number of students have tested positive and are facing similar self-isolation measures.

Meanwhile in England, there are calls to halt lectures in Liverpool after dozens of students and seven staff have tested positive for coronavirus in the last seven days.

The University and College Union (UCU) said continuing lessons is “likely to lead” to a further spread of the virus.

Commentators have previously warned universities are at risk of becoming “ground zero” for a second wave.

Back in August, the UCU said the government is “encouraging a public health crisis” by allowing campsus to reopen and over a million students to migrate around the country.

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