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Major coronavirus outbreaks at Sheffield and Nottingham universities

Written by on 6 October 2020

More than a thousand students and staff at two universities have been forced to self-isolate after testing positive for coronavirus.

Some 433 people at the University of Nottingham have contracted the virus, with 588 people at the University of Sheffield also testing positive.

It comes after students from across the country travelled to cities to start a new university term amid the new coronavirus restrictions.

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Manchester’s two main universities – Manchester University and Manchester Metropolitan University – have also reportedly suspended all in-person teaching for the rest of October.

A few courses that rely on practical training will be exempted, the Manchester Evening News said.

The University of Nottingham is running its own testing programme on its campuses, and puts its high number of cases down to that scheme.

It said 106 students in university halls had tested positive, with 93 in other purpose built accommodation. Some 226 students living in private accommodation have contracted the virus, while eight staff members are also included in the data.

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There are 35,000 students and 10,000 staff at the Midlands institution.

Officials in Nottingham have told local media that they are worried about a significant rise in cases in the city and are working with Public Health England (PHE) to supress the spread.

At the University of Sheffield, as of Monday, 583 students have tested positive for COVID-19 – as have six staff members.

The university said that when it is notified of confirmed cases, it uses timetabling data to identify close contacts and encourages them to go into self-isolation.

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The universities affected by COVID-19 outbreaks

The universities affected by COVID-19 outbreaks

Those in quarantine are supported by the university and receive regular welfare checks and help with food deliveries.

The university is home to 29,000 students and around 8,000 staff members.

Sheffield’s infection rate has shot up to 286.6 over recent days as a result of the sharp increase in cases.

Some 283 pupils and 35 staff at a school in Cardiff have also been told to self-isolate after 11 of them tested positive.

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The headteacher of Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Plasmawr told parents in a letter that at least two pupils and three members of staff were among those who had the virus.

The school is reducing the size of its contact bubbles and reinforcing infection control over the next few weeks.