Video report by ITV News Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen
Around 1,700 students in Manchester have been told to self-isolate after 127 of them tested positive for coronavirus.
Residents at the Birley campus and Cambridge Halls at Manchester Metropolitan University have been told to stay in their rooms for 14 days, even if they have no symptoms.
In total, 1,700 students have been locked down, according to the Manchester Evening News.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Monday, Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham said he has been assured that the students are not being prevented from leaving their accommodation to go for Covid-19 tests.
“I have spoken to the vice-chancellor and I am assured that people are able to leave if they have got good reason to do that,” he said, adding:
“But what has happened over the weekend is that the university has been dealing with a very worrying situation. It obviously required a firm response when there are over a hundred cases.
“I have been assured there is a support package now in place for students.”
Dr Yasmin Ahmed-Little, consultant in health protection at Public Health England North West, said: “We have seen an increase in positive cases and students with symptoms in the university, and all students in these accommodation blocks are being asked to self-isolate for 14 days – even if they have no symptoms – to avoid unknowingly spreading the virus.
“It is really important for all students to follow the advice from the university and the city council to stay safe.
“Young people play a crucial role in preventing the spread of coronavirus to protect those at much greater risk.
“If you are one of the students that has been asked to self-isolate please follow the advice and stay in your accommodation to help us prevent the infection from spreading.”
Bev Craig, executive member for adult health and wellbeing for Manchester City Council, said: “This is obviously very difficult for all of the young people involved and we will be working with the university and other public services to make sure that any of the students affected get the support they need.”
The outbreak in Manchester comes after a similar outbreak at Glasgow University, where more than 100 students tested positive, forcing university halls to go on lockdown. Dundee university also saw a spike in cases, leading to dozens more needing to self-isolate.
First minister Nicola Sturgeon has urged students to avoid visiting pubs and bars in Scotland this weekend in a bid to combat a rising number of coronavirus cases.
Those who do visit bars and pubs could face expulsion from their courses.