Coronavirus: Queen’s students told to self-isolate in halls

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The university has not specified exactly how many students are affected

Some students in Queen’s University halls of residence in Belfast have been told to self-isolate after a “small number” tested positive for Covid-19.

A spokesperson for Queen’s said “robust protocols” were in place to minimise further spread.

However, the exact number of students asked to self-isolate has not been specified by the university.

Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) runs a number of large accommodation sites in Belfast.

It has halls of residence in the city centre and on the city’s Malone Road close to the Queen’s campus.

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The university has not said which site is affected, but BBC News NI understands students in one specific accommodation block at the Elms site on the Malone Road have been asked to self-isolate.

A spokesperson for QUB said evidence suggested transmission of the virus was “taking place in social settings”.

“The university can confirm that a small number of students living in Queen’s accommodation have tested positive for Covid-19,” they said.

“The university is working closely with the Public Health Agency and in line with their guidance all affected students or those who are considered to be at risk have been informed, asked to self-isolate and are being fully supported to do so.

“The university has in place robust protocols to minimise the risk of further spread that are being applied.”

“All other students and their families should remain calm and continue to follow public health guidelines to protect themselves and others.”

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A Covid-19 testing centre at QUB is now in operation close to the university’s physical education centre.

Students have been told to isolate in their accommodation at several universities in England and Scotland.

That includes about 1,700 students at Manchester Metropolitan University – where students said they were being prevented from leaving by security guards and police.

The new university year at both QUB and Ulster University began on Monday 21 September.

Many students are taking a significant proportion of their courses online with students taking degrees which involve practical or laboratory work most likely to spend time on campus.

There are also many safety measures in place, including extensive use of face coverings.

However the University and College Union (UCU) at QUB – which represents many staff – has said it is unhappy with the extent of face-to-face teaching taking place.

BBC News