Scot students banned from going to pubs and restaurants as more than 1,000 isolate due university Covid outbreaks

STUDENTS have been banned from going to pubs in Scotland as more than 1,000 self-isolate due to coronavirus outbreaks at universities.

Youngsters have been warned that those who repeatedly flout Covid guidelines could be thrown out of university under new rules.

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Higher education chiefs met to discuss a range of measures which would be introduced amid concerns over a number of outbreaks since term started.

Students have now been asked not to attend bars and restaurants this weekend and are required to download the Protect Scotland tracing app.

Universities have also now agreed to introduce a "yellow card, red card" system to breaches of student discipline that put students and others at risk, which could result in an end to studies.

Nicola Sturgeon has urged students to abide by new measures introduced by universities.

The First Minister tweeted: "To all students – I'm so sorry COVID is making this special time of your lives so tough.

"But it won't be forever and the more we get the virus back under control now, the sooner you'll get a bit of normality back. So, please do what's being asked of you."

It comes after a number of outbreaks at universities across the country emerged this week.

More than 1,000 students are self-isolating after coronavirus outbreaks in a number of unis – including Aberdeen, Glasgow and Abertay.

A fresh cluster of cases emerged tonight after 120 students at Edinburgh Napier tested positive for the virus.

Smaller clusters have also been identified at Edinburgh and Queen Margaret Universities, but the numbers remain unknown at this time.

Gerry McCormac, convener of Universities Scotland, said: "University leaders share the Scottish Government's complete commitment to keeping the student population and the wider community safe.

"We have already implemented strict measures to ensure the safety of the university environment, both for teaching and for student residences.

"We have seen the majority of students live up to our expectations of responsible behaviour, but a minority have not.

"Everyone across the nation shares the concern at seeing students in residences test positive for the virus and we will act decisively to deal with this. 

"The additional actions we will take to drive down the transmission of the virus in student accommodation build on the wide-ranging measures already agreed with Scottish Government.

"Taken together, we are confident that these will help significantly to control the virus in student accommodation and impact on the number of positive cases; after the inevitable time-lag caused by some existing cases not yet being symptomatic.

"Our top priority is making sure that students that have tested positive and those quarantining are well-supported and ready to return to their studies.

"We appreciate this isn't what students would have expected from their first few weeks at university, but it is critical that they play their part in suppressing the virus."

Universities have also agreed to increase staff presence in student accommodation.

They said they will be "vigilant" against any breaches of guidance and will also offer welfare and practical support to those experiencing isolation.

It comes as Matt Hancock warned students could be banned from going home for Christmas because of Covid.

The Health Secretary said youngsters may be ordered to stay on campus to stop them carrying the virus back home in another hammer blow for Brits hoping to enjoy a family Xmas.

Mr Hancock told Times Radio: “I very much hope we won’t have to say that. But I don’t rule it out.

“Students, once they’ve gone to university, should stay, so as not to spread the disease.”

In an interview with the BBC he added: “One of the challenges is making sure people are as safe as possible and that includes not spreading between the generations.”

Sage scientists warned  cases may soar on campus in December and testing will need to be ramped up.

 Jason Leitch, one of Scotland’s top medical bosses, told students they cannot leave to visit families.

And bored students in quarantine at Abertay University, Dundee, have now stuck notes in their windows appealing for food.  

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