UK News Residents fear return of students will cause Covid spikes
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More than half of people living in university towns and cities fear the return of students will lead to coronavirus spikes and restrictions in their area, according to a survey.
Tens of thousands of students are due back on campus in the coming days and a new poll has suggested 57 per cent of people fear local restrictions will result.
Nearly half (48 per cent) indicated they will blame the Government.
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Officials have yet to confirm the final figure, which takes into account all laboratory-confirmed victims in every setting. The preliminary count for England only includes fatalities in hospitals.Government officials have yet to confirm the final daily figure, which takes into account all laboratory-confirmed victims in every setting. The preliminary count for England only includes fatalities in hospitals, meaning care home deaths aren't available until the official update at 4pm.
Earlier this month, Government scientific advisers warned it is 'highly likely' there will be significant coronavirus outbreaks linked to universities.
The Survation poll, carried out for the University and College Union (UCU), also found half of respondents believe universities should cancel all face-to-face teaching.
In the poll, 57 per cent expressed a lack of confidence in local Test and Trace systems to control outbreaks.
UCU general secretary Jo Grady said online learning needs to be the default position and the Government and universities must 'stop selling the lie to students that they can have a full university experience in the current crisis'.
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Boris Johnson is considering the introduction of new national restrictions - possibly as soon as next week - as the prime minister races to try and get a handle on the spread of coronavirus. With COVID-19 cases now doubling every seven to eight days, the government is looking at introducing nationwide restrictions for a short period to try to "short-circuit" the virus and slow the spread of the disease.Government figures stressed the plans being drawn up stopped short of a full national lockdown, as seen in the spring, when the country was told to "stay at home".
She added: 'Vice-chancellors are in denial and creating hygiene theatre to pretend institutions are safe.
'It cannot be business as normal at the moment and they need to stop pretending that is a credible option. People do not want to see local outbreaks on their doorstep.
'With the Test and Trade system in England at breaking point it is no wonder that the public do not have confidence in the system or this Government.
'With a nationally co-ordinated, comprehensive testing system in place, universities and colleges simply will not be able to cope with outbreaks or potential outbreaks.'
Earlier this month, scientists from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) warned social interactions and accommodation are likely to be a 'high-risk environment' for transmission to occur - and asymptomatic cases among students may be harder to detect.
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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.
The Sage paper said: 'There is significant risk that HE (higher education) could amplify local and national transmission, and this requires national oversight.
'A critical risk is a large number of infected students seeding outbreaks across the UK, influencing national transmission.'
Ms Grady added: 'Our main objective is to help avert a preventable public health crisis.
'But if our members are concerned with how their college or university is behaving, we will back them if they vote to move into dispute, which could result in ballots for industrial action.'
The online Survation poll was conducted between September 11 and 14 with responses from 1,012 residents aged 18 or over living in 25 university towns and cities in England, said the UCU.
Whitty: 'Critical point' in pandemic as UK infection rate heading in wrong direction
England's chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, has warned the rate of COVID-19 infections in the UK is "heading in the wrong direction".England's chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, has warned the rate of COVID-19 infections in the UK is "heading in the wrong direction".
Yesterday, 4,422 people tested positive for coronavirus in Britain with the total number of confirmed cases tanding at 390,358.
Nearly 4,000 new positive tests were confirmed on Thursday, in what was the biggest daily rise since May 8.
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