24 Sep Coronavirus: University of Glasgow outbreak linked to mixing during freshers’ week | UK News
At Cairncross House in Glasgow, there is a steady stream of supermarket delivery trucks arriving.
Hundreds of students are inside – self-isolating amid an outbreak of at least coronavirus 124 cases.
As we walk past the ground floor windows, those inside wave – some happy to chat out of their window amid the prospect of two weeks indoors.
Isaac is one of those who tested positive. “I’ve got it – I can’t taste food,” he tells me, wearing a mask.
“It’s not really what anyone wants in the first year of uni. You want to go out and have fun, but it’s an exception this year, everyone’s in the same boat, you’ve just got to hope the next two years are better.
“It’s pretty boring, you can talk to your flatmates and play card games, but there is not much to do,” he said.
The University of Glasgow believes socialising during freshers’ week is to blame for the outbreak.
Another student – Harriet Sweatman – opens her window to chat.
She says her flat is the only one on the ground floor without any positive COVID-19 cases: “It does feel very dystopian to have to wear a mask when I leave my room to go to the kitchen and go to the bathroom.
“Especially because I’m right on the end of the corridor for our flat and all the people around me and across the corridor have tested positive.”
She tells us how she thinks the virus got inside the halls: “This hall is not a party hall. I think someone just accidentally had COVID, passed it into the flat and neighbours and it just went from there.”
Harriet says the other campus involved in the outbreak – Murano Street Student Village, two miles away – is better known for student parties.
NHS Scotland has set up a testing centre on the campus to and try deal with the significant rises in cases.
Ben Cochran has just been swabbed in the pop-up tent.
He told me he’s not surprised about the outbreak: “Just out here there have been large amounts of people gathering and I think they just don’t realise until it quite hits them, there were big parties and people coming out of their flats.”
The University of Glasgow says it is offering support to students and is taking a tough approach to those who don’t follow the rules.
“We have made very clear since before the arrival of students that the university will not tolerate behaviour that puts others at risk,” a spokesperson said.
“No new disciplinary issues have been reported since the first few days of Freshers’ Week.
“Despite this we are expanding staffing numbers to help ensure isolation is observed universally and to support students.
“Disciplinary action against any students who break the rules will include termination of student accommodation contracts and suspension from the university.”