Manchester Metropolitan University students forced into lockdown


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  • Coronavirus pandemic

Halls at Manchester Metropolitan University’s Birley campus

image copyrightGoogle

image captionAbout 1,700 students must self-isolate for 14 days

Hundreds of university students in Manchester have been forced to self-isolate “with immediate effect”.

Up to 1,700 students will isolate for 14 days after 99 at Manchester Metropolitan University tested positive for Covid-19.

Students across the city

have been urged to attend virtual freshers’ events and avoid big parties.

Most parts of Greater Manchester are subject to stricter restrictions after a spike in coronavirus cases.

Manchester City Council said it was implementing a “local lockdown” to stop the transmission of the virus among students and prevent it getting into the wider community,

“The evidence so far suggests that transmission has been within the student community,” it said.

Students in accommodation blocks at Birley campus and at Cambridge Halls are affected.

Megan Tingy, a student at Manchester Metropolitan, said: “We were getting ready to go out and looked out to security and police outside the halls. They say we can’t leave.

“We haven’t received any emails from university about this and they seem to be holding us in against our will.

“My dad has been calling the university to find out what is going on.”

At Birley, Chip Wilson, 19, said: “We have been told we are not allowed to leave and if we do we cannot come back, so now we are all stuck inside.

“We are all worried about how we will get food and how long this will last.

“We only got an email to say it was happening as it was happening this evening.

“On top of all this many of us here have Covid symptoms but we cannot get tests. We can only get drive-through tests and none of us have cars, and even if we did we can’t leave now.”

‘Predicted catastrophe’

A university spokesman said: “We are fully supportive of the [lockdown] decision.

“Services such as wellbeing support and the library will remain available to our students online.

“Our security teams will increase patrols to support the lockdown and we will take disciplinary action against any students found to have breached requirements.”

David Regan, public health director for Manchester, said: “An important part of Manchester’s Local Response and Prevention Plan for coronavirus is to keep a close eye on the data and act swiftly and decisively where an outbreak is identified in order to contain the virus. That’s what we’ve done here.”

University and College Union general secretary Jo Grady said it was a “wholly predictable – and predicted catastrophe.”

“There is no point encouraging students to come to university to self-isolate for a fortnight,” she said.

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