Accueil Coronavirus Significant outbreaks of Covid-19 linked to universities are highly likely, says Sage

Significant outbreaks of Covid-19 linked to universities are highly likely, says Sage

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Significant outbreaks of coronavirus linked to universities are “highly likely”, the Government scientific advisers have said.

In a document published on Friday, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) warned that universtiy outbreaks risk amplifying the transmission of the virus across the country.

Social interactions and accommodation are likely to be a “high-risk environment” for transmission to occur – and asymptomatic cases among students may make it harder to detect, they warned.

In the report, scientists have suggested that wider-scale testing, combined with action places, may help control campus outbreaks.

Read more

Wearing face coverings in campus buildings and reducing in-person interactions may mitigate the transmission of Covid-19, the advice suggests.

It says: “Students who are residents in university accommodation should be segmented as far as possible to co-locate courses or year groups, to minimise networks between different parts of an institution.”

Social interactions and accommodation are likely to be a “high-risk environment” for transmission to occur (PA)

The document comes as students across the country prepare to return to university campuses for the autumn term.

It said: “There is a significant risk that HE (Higher Education) could amplify local and national transmission, and this requires national oversight.”

The paper, which sets out the principles for managing transmission, adds: “A critical risk is a large number of infected students seeding outbreaks across the UK, influencing national transmission.”

There is a small risk of this at the start of term, it says, but there is a “more substantial risk” at the end of term if the infection spreads in universities.

Coronavirus hits the UK – In pictures

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Electronic bilboards displays a message warning people to stay home in Sheffield

PA

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An image of The Queen eith quotes from her broadcast to the UK and the Commonwealth in relation to the Coronavirus epidemic are displayed on lights in London’s Piccadilly Circus

PA

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Boris Johnson addresses the nation on the Coronavirus lockdown

Andrew Parsons

4/50

Military vehicles cross Westminster Bridge after members of the 101 Logistic Brigade delivered a consignment of medical masks to St Thomas’ hospital

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Durdle Door in Dorset

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Captain Tom Moore

via .

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Mia, aged 8, and Jack, aged 5, take part in « PE with Joe » a daily live workout with Joe Wicks on Youtube to help kids stay fit who have to stay indoors due to the Coronavirus outbreak

PA

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An NHS worker reacts at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital during the Clap for our Carers campaign in support of the NHS

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Goats which have taken over the deserted streets of Llandudno

@AndrewStuart via PA

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Tobias Weller

PA

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Novikov restaurant in London with its shutters pulled down while the restaurant is closed

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London Landscapes: Hyde Park and the Serpentine, central London.

Matt Writtle

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A newspaper vendor in Manchester city centre giving away free toilet rolls with every paper bought as shops run low on supplies due to fears over the spread of the coronavirus

PA

14/50

Theo Clay looks out of his window next to his hand-drawn picture of a rainbow in Liverpool, as the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continue

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15/50

A young man cuts another man’s hair on top of a closed hairdresser in Oxford

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16/50

General view of the new NHS Nightingale Hospital, built to fight against the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in London

via .

17/50

Jason Baird is seen dressed as Spiderman during his daily exercise to cheer up local children in Stockport, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues

.

18/50

A woman wearing a face mask walks past Buckingham Palace

.

19/50

A man holds mobile phone displaying a text message alert sent by the government warning that new rules are in force across the UK and people must stay at home

PA

20/50

Medical staff on the Covid-19 ward at the Neath Port Talbot Hospital, in Wales, as the health services continue their response to the coronavirus outbreak.

PA

21/50

Prime Minister Boris Johnson taking part in a virtual Cabinet meeting with his top team of ministers

PA

22/50

A shopper walks past empty shelves in a Lidl store on in Wallington. After spates of « panic buying » cleared supermarket shelves of items like toilet paper and cleaning products, stores across the UK have introduced limits on purchases during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some have also created special time slots for the elderly and other shoppers vulnerable to the new coronavirus.

.

23/50

People on a busy tube train in London at rush hour

PA

24/50

Mia, aged 8 and her brother Jack, aged 5 from Essex, continue their school work at home, after being sent home due to the coronavirus

PA

25/50

Children are painting ‘Chase the rainbows’ artwork and springing up in windows across the country

.

26/50

Social distancing in Primrose Hill

Jeremy Selwyn

27/50

Westminster Bridge is deserted

PA

28/50

A general view of a locked gate at Anfield, Liverpool as The Premier League has been suspended

PA

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An empty escalator at Charing Coss London Underground tube station

Jeremy Selwyn

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Homeless people in London

. via .

31/50

A piece of art by the artist, known as the Rebel Bear has appeared on a wall on Bank Street in Glasgow. The new addition to Glasgow’s street art is capturing the global Coronavirus crisis. The piece features a woman and a man pulling back to give each other a kiss

PA

32/50

The Queen leaves Buckingham Palace, London, for Windsor Castle to socially distance herself amid the coronavirus pandemic

PA

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A general view on Grey street, Newcastle as coronavirus cases grow around the world

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34/50

Matt Raw, a British national who returned from the coronavirus-hit city of Wuhan in China, leaves quaratine at Arrowe Park Hospital on Merseyside

PA

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Britain’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty (L) and Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance look on as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures as he speaks during a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) news conference inside 10 Downing Street

.

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The ticket-validation terminals at the tram stop on Edinburgh’s Princes Street are cleaned following the coronavirus outbreak.

PA

37/50

Locked school gates at Rockcliffe First School in Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear

PA

38/50

A sign at a Sainsbury’s supermarket informs customers that limits have been set on a small number of products as the number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases grow around the world

.

39/50

Jawad Javed delivers coronavirus protection kits that he and his wife have put together to the vulnerable people of their community of Stenhousemuir, between Glasgow and Edinburgh

. via .

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A sign advertising a book titled « How Will We Survive On Earth? »

.

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A man who appears to be homeless sleeping wearing a mask today in Victoria

Jeremy Selwyn

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A pedestrian walks past graffiti that reads « Diseases are in the City » in Edinburgh

. via .

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Staff from The Lyric Theatre, London inform patrons, as it shuts its doors

PA

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A quiet looking George IV Bridge in Edinburgh

PA

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A quieter than usual British Museum

.

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A racegoer attends Cheltenham in a fashionable face mask

SplashNews.com

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A commuter wears a face mask at London Bridge Station

Jeremy Selwyn

48/50

A empty restaurant in the Bull Ring Shopping Centre

.

49/50

A deserted Trafalgar Square in London

PA

50/50

Passengers determined to avoid the coronavirus before leaving the UK arrive at Gatwick Airport

.

1/50

Electronic bilboards displays a message warning people to stay home in Sheffield

PA

2/50

An image of The Queen eith quotes from her broadcast to the UK and the Commonwealth in relation to the Coronavirus epidemic are displayed on lights in London’s Piccadilly Circus

PA

3/50

Boris Johnson addresses the nation on the Coronavirus lockdown

Andrew Parsons

4/50

Military vehicles cross Westminster Bridge after members of the 101 Logistic Brigade delivered a consignment of medical masks to St Thomas’ hospital

.

5/50

Durdle Door in Dorset

.

6/50

Captain Tom Moore

via .

7/50

Mia, aged 8, and Jack, aged 5, take part in « PE with Joe » a daily live workout with Joe Wicks on Youtube to help kids stay fit who have to stay indoors due to the Coronavirus outbreak

PA

8/50

An NHS worker reacts at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital during the Clap for our Carers campaign in support of the NHS

.

9/50

Goats which have taken over the deserted streets of Llandudno

@AndrewStuart via PA

10/50

Tobias Weller

PA

11/50

Novikov restaurant in London with its shutters pulled down while the restaurant is closed

12/50

London Landscapes: Hyde Park and the Serpentine, central London.

Matt Writtle

13/50

A newspaper vendor in Manchester city centre giving away free toilet rolls with every paper bought as shops run low on supplies due to fears over the spread of the coronavirus

PA

14/50

Theo Clay looks out of his window next to his hand-drawn picture of a rainbow in Liverpool, as the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continue

.

15/50

A young man cuts another man’s hair on top of a closed hairdresser in Oxford

.

16/50

General view of the new NHS Nightingale Hospital, built to fight against the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in London

via .

17/50

Jason Baird is seen dressed as Spiderman during his daily exercise to cheer up local children in Stockport, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues

.

18/50

A woman wearing a face mask walks past Buckingham Palace

.

19/50

A man holds mobile phone displaying a text message alert sent by the government warning that new rules are in force across the UK and people must stay at home

PA

20/50

Medical staff on the Covid-19 ward at the Neath Port Talbot Hospital, in Wales, as the health services continue their response to the coronavirus outbreak.

PA

21/50

Prime Minister Boris Johnson taking part in a virtual Cabinet meeting with his top team of ministers

PA

22/50

A shopper walks past empty shelves in a Lidl store on in Wallington. After spates of « panic buying » cleared supermarket shelves of items like toilet paper and cleaning products, stores across the UK have introduced limits on purchases during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some have also created special time slots for the elderly and other shoppers vulnerable to the new coronavirus.

.

23/50

People on a busy tube train in London at rush hour

PA

24/50

Mia, aged 8 and her brother Jack, aged 5 from Essex, continue their school work at home, after being sent home due to the coronavirus

PA

25/50

Children are painting ‘Chase the rainbows’ artwork and springing up in windows across the country

.

26/50

Social distancing in Primrose Hill

Jeremy Selwyn

27/50

Westminster Bridge is deserted

PA

28/50

A general view of a locked gate at Anfield, Liverpool as The Premier League has been suspended

PA

29/50

An empty escalator at Charing Coss London Underground tube station

Jeremy Selwyn

30/50

Homeless people in London

. via .

31/50

A piece of art by the artist, known as the Rebel Bear has appeared on a wall on Bank Street in Glasgow. The new addition to Glasgow’s street art is capturing the global Coronavirus crisis. The piece features a woman and a man pulling back to give each other a kiss

PA

32/50

The Queen leaves Buckingham Palace, London, for Windsor Castle to socially distance herself amid the coronavirus pandemic

PA

33/50

A general view on Grey street, Newcastle as coronavirus cases grow around the world

.

34/50

Matt Raw, a British national who returned from the coronavirus-hit city of Wuhan in China, leaves quaratine at Arrowe Park Hospital on Merseyside

PA

35/50

Britain’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty (L) and Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance look on as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures as he speaks during a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) news conference inside 10 Downing Street

.

36/50

The ticket-validation terminals at the tram stop on Edinburgh’s Princes Street are cleaned following the coronavirus outbreak.

PA

37/50

Locked school gates at Rockcliffe First School in Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear

PA

38/50

A sign at a Sainsbury’s supermarket informs customers that limits have been set on a small number of products as the number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases grow around the world

.

39/50

Jawad Javed delivers coronavirus protection kits that he and his wife have put together to the vulnerable people of their community of Stenhousemuir, between Glasgow and Edinburgh

. via .

40/50

A sign advertising a book titled « How Will We Survive On Earth? »

.

41/50

A man who appears to be homeless sleeping wearing a mask today in Victoria

Jeremy Selwyn

42/50

A pedestrian walks past graffiti that reads « Diseases are in the City » in Edinburgh

. via .

43/50

Staff from The Lyric Theatre, London inform patrons, as it shuts its doors

PA

44/50

A quiet looking George IV Bridge in Edinburgh

PA

45/50

A quieter than usual British Museum

.

46/50

A racegoer attends Cheltenham in a fashionable face mask

SplashNews.com

47/50

A commuter wears a face mask at London Bridge Station

Jeremy Selwyn

48/50

A empty restaurant in the Bull Ring Shopping Centre

.

49/50

A deserted Trafalgar Square in London

PA

50/50

Passengers determined to avoid the coronavirus before leaving the UK arrive at Gatwick Airport

.

The advisers warned outbreaks would coincide with Christmas and new year posing “a significant risk to both extended families and local communities.”

Universities should consider providing dedicated accommodation facilities to enable students who test positive to effectively isolate and minimise the risk of an outbreak, the scientists said.

Universities have been advised to involve students when producing rules on how to behave to increase the likelihood of young people adhering to them.

The document warns: “Disagreements, mistakes and transgressions will happen. Preventing anger, confrontation and stigmatisation will be important.”

100 pupils told to quarantine after virus case at Staffordshire school

On the Sage report, Professor Julia Buckingham, president of Universities UK and vice-chancellor of Brunel University London, said: “It is reassuring to note that many of the recommendations have already been addressed by universities in their planning for the start of the new term.

“Higher education institutions are aware of the risk of cases emerging on campus and that is why they have been working hard over many months and investing considerable resource and expertise into planning for all scenarios.

“It is vital that the sector and local health and public bodies work together over the new term to develop robust plans for managing outbreaks in university towns.”

Jo Grady, general secretary of the University and College Union, said: “This report is sobering reading and brings the dangers associated with reopening university campuses into sharp focus. It exposes how wrong it was to try and pretend it would be almost business as usual. The worry now is how ill-prepared the Government and universities appear to be.

Read more

“We welcome the recommendations for better testing and tracing, and for universities to work with staff and students on guidance. This report adds further weight to our call that online teaching must be universities’ default position.

“What we really need now is a serious response from universities and Government – The health of university staf, students and the wider community is too important to gamble with. This is not business as usual.”

A Department for Education spokeswoman said: “The safety and wellbeing of university students and staff is always a priority and these findings from Sage underpin the protective measures being taken to open universities safely for students, staff and local communities.

“We have already published guidance on reopening higher education buildings and campuses, and will update this shortly to reflect Sage’s advice, to help universities prepare to open safely.”

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