Hundreds of students in Dundee told to self-isolate after suspected coronavirus outbreak

  • Video report by ITV News Political Reporter Shehab Khan

Hundreds of students in Dundee have been told to self-isolate following a suspected coronavirus outbreak at a halls of residence in the city.

All 500 residents of Parker House, a private student accommodation block, have been told to quarantine after a single confirmed Covid-19 case and a "small number" of suspected cases.

Close contacts of the individual who tested positive – a student at Abertay University – are being contacted.

NHS Tayside’s health protection team is investigating the outbreak and have advised the measures as a precaution to limit further spread.

Speaking to STV, Dr Daniel Chandler, associate director of public health for NHS Tayside, said: “We know from outbreaks in other university settings across Scotland that the virus can spread very quickly in student accommodation.

“Therefore, 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.”

Professor Nigel Seaton, principal of Abertay University, told STV the students are being supported to help them self-isolate safely.

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

“We have contacted students and staff to remind them of their personal responsibilities in relation to Covid safety and to inform them of [Tuesday’s] changes in Scottish Government guidance.”

Nicola Sturgeon has warned Scotland's R number could be as high as 1.4. Credit: PA

Elsewhere in Scotland, a number of students at Aberdeen University have tested positive for Covid-19 and similar self-isolation measures are in place in one halls of residence.

An Aberdeen University spokesperson told STV: “All those affected are being supported by the accommodation team to ensure they have access to food and other supplies.

“Affected areas of Wavell House are also being given a deep clean.  Assistance will be provided to affected students to support the need for them to study online while self-isolating. 

“We appreciate this will be an anxious time for many but the safety of our staff, student and wider community are paramount.

"At the same time, it is vital that we all work together to comply with the guidelines to help keep our community safe and mitigate the risk of further spread.” 

Meanwhile in the University of Liverpool is facing calls to abandon in-person teaching when term begins after there were 87 positive Covid-19 tests of staff and students at the institution in the past week.