Coronavirus outbreak at University of St Andrews after freshers’ party in halls

Students were asked on Friday to enter a voluntary weekend lockdown and avoid going to bars or parties.

The University of St Andrews
The University of St Andrews

Four students at the University of St Andrews have contracted coronavirus after a freshers’ week party in a hall of residence.

More than 40 people are now self-isolating following the party, which broke national coronavirus restrictions limiting gatherings to no more than six people from two households.

On Friday, St Andrews asked its students to enter a voluntary weekend lockdown by staying in their rooms and not partying or going to bars.

The new cases bring the total at the university to seven, after three were announced last week.

In a message to students, University of St Andrews principal Professor Sally Mapstone said: “I am sorry to say that last night, four new positive cases were confirmed amongst our students.

“This is in addition to the three sporadic cases which I had notified to you all previously.

“All have comparatively mild illness and are being appropriately supported.”

She added: “These new cases of Covid were acquired in St Andrews and are all linked to one party in a hall of residence in freshers’ week.

“Over 40 students are now in enforced isolation as a result.

“Quite apart from the fact that the party broke the law, and our own very clear guidelines on socialising and safe behaviour, the ripples from this single incident have consequences for all of us.

“Please do not arrange or attend parties unless they are only attended by your immediate household group”.

Despite the new cases, the university will restart some activities cancelled over the weekend, including “most sport, training activities and the gym”.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie, whose North East Fife constituency includes St Andrews, said: “This should act as a chilling reminder of the need to follow the advice of the scientists and the health professionals.

“If we give this deadly disease the opportunity to spread it will do so like wildfire.

“I appreciate that we are asking young people to sacrifice some of the best bits of university social life but the alternative is so much worse for everyone.”

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