Huge Covid outbreak at Northumbria University as hundreds test positive

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Northumbria University has become the latest to be hit by a huge outbreak of Coronavirus with hundreds of positive cases confirmed.

A total of 770 students have been infected with the highly contagious virus, with 78 showing symptoms.

A spokesman for the University said that all who have tested positive are self-isolating for a fortnight.

They said: “As of Friday October 2, we can confirm that we are aware of 770 Northumbria University students who have tested positive for Covid-19, of whom 78 are symptomatic.

“These students are all now self-isolating. Their flatmates and any close contacts are also self-isolating for 14 days in line with government guidance and have been advised to contact NHS119 to book a test as soon as possible should symptoms appear."

Flatmates and any close contacts are also going into quarantine and been advised to book a test if they develop COVID-19 symptoms, the spokesperson added.

Cllr Irim Ali, a cabinet member on Newcastle City Council, said the city and university had gone to "incredible lengths" to create COVID-secure environments for students, Sky News reports.

She added: "Sadly, a small number of students are undermining these efforts.

"It is welcome that the universities are recognising this and warning those who break the rules about their conduct."

Staff at the University had threatened to take industrial action over coronavirus safety measures, Chronicle Live reports.

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The University and College Union (UCU) had already declared a formal dispute with the university due to concerns and is preparing to ballot members for industrial action.

The union said academics are “worried for themselves and their families, for the students, and for the community” amid rising Covid case numbers in the city.

There have been major concerns about the return of more than 50,000 students to Newcastle during a resurgence of the virus, with the city having one of the highest rates of infection in the country.

A spokesperson for the university told the local outlet they "fully understand the concerns of colleagues" and that there is a weekly meeting with the trade unions where concerns can be raised.

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It comes as scientists warned that much of the England now has an R rate of somewhere between 1.2 and 1.6.

The R rate is a vital figure the measures the number of people an contagious patient goes on to infect.

The latest figures published on Friday by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), show that the R rate for England is between 1.2 and 1.6.

Dozens of universities are thought to have been affected by coronavirus outbreaks across the UK.

More than 50 universities in the UK have confirmed cases of coronavirus with nearly 1,800 Covid-19 cases identified among students and staff.

Only yesterday the Diocese of Newcastle appealed for volunteers to help hundreds of students in private accommodation who have been isolating with no food.

  • Students
  • Coronavirus

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