500 residents of student halls in Dundee are self-isolating due to coronavirus - here’s what happened

Wednesday, 23rd September 2020, 2:24 pm
Updated Wednesday, 23rd September 2020, 2:24 pm

A total of 500 residents at student accommodation in Dundee have been told to self-isolate after a suspected Covid-19 outbreak.

A single positive case and a small number of other possible infections are being investigated, linked to Parker House in Dundee. Contact tracers are attempting to identify anyone who the student of Abertay University may have passed Covid-19 on to.

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All residents at the accommodation have been asked to self-isolate until contact tracing has been completed.

Abertay University has said it would review the advice in the coming days, and have advised any students who began showing symptoms to book a test as soon as possible.

University accommodation infections

Dr Daniel Chandler, associate director of public health, 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.”

Students across Scotland returned to socially distanced campuses at the start of September.

This latest coronavirus case comes after a number of students tested positive for Covid-19 at Aberdeen University. All residents in Wavell House hall of residents in the Hillhead Student Village have been asked to self-isolate for 14 days, unless advised otherwise.

At the University of Glasgow, a number of virus cases in student residences are being dealt with. An email sent to students sent by the University said they believed the cases were largely due to “social interactions” the weekend before last.

Last week, 11 residents in a Bainfield student accommodation test positive following a cluster at Napier University in Edinburgh.

In England, almost 90 students and staff at the University of Liverpool have tested positive for Covid-19. The University confirmed that over a seven day period in the week before term began there were 87 confirmed cases.

Among other universities dealing with cases is Manchester Metropolitan University, Oxford Brookes and Stirling University.

Renewed call for remote learning

The University and College Union (UCU) has renewed its calls for all teaching to be remote to help keep infection rates down. The union, which represents staff working in universities, said that the government must abandon in-person teaching if it is serious about reducing the number of confirmed cases in universities.

Universities UK, which represents vice-chancellors, said multiple health and safety measures had been put in place to ensure that some in-person teaching could be delivered safely.

“Universities recognise that this is a difficult and uncertain time for everyone and will be considering the needs of staff and students on an individual basis,” a spokesperson said.