Dr Hilary warns uni students may be unable to come home for Xmas

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Dr Hilary warns uni students may be unable to come home for Xmas

Dr Hilary Jones warns that university students may not be able to come home for Christmas this year.

During today’s instalment of Lorraine, the medical expert told the Scottish mum-of-one that students may be better off isolating themselves in their accommodations over the festive period.

He said ‘it makes sense’ to keep students on campus over Christmas to lessen the risk of coronavirus being spread to those back home, if cases keep rising.

“It’s a worry. Large numbers of students even before term even started at university are testing positive.” He added.

“500 are self-isolating at the University of Dundee, so this is a worry because this is the age group that we know does socially mingle a lot and they perhaps don’t think about social distancing much for whatever reason.

“It’s a highly contagious virus and we know a lot of them are carrying Covid-19. A lot of them may not get the symptoms but they need to self-isolate so it doesn’t spread any further.

“But now SAGE are thinking about restricting students travelling back home for Christmas. They might say that they have to stay at their university.”

“That’s going to be so hard,” Lorraine said.

Dr Hilary continued: “If you think about every one of those students who have tested positive or may be carrying the virus without knowing they’re positive – if they go home to their households all around the country, the potential for transmissibility is enormous.”

Lorraine added: “And the poor wee freshers, they’ve just had all of their exams disrupted and then it’s their first time at university…”

“It’s really hard,” Dr Hilary agreed.

A Department for Education spokeswoman said: “We will continue monitoring the situation very closely and follow Public Health England advice, adapting policies to best support students and providers as the situation evolves.”

When asked whether university students may be told not to go home at Christmas if the situation worsens, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “We haven’t reached that point yet”.

And when asked if it was something he would consider, he told BBC Breakfast: “I don’t rule out anything.

“And if you have the last nine months that I’ve had, you’d understand why we don’t rule out anything. It’s not something that I want to do.

“But what’s important is that we of course keep people safe and keep the virus under control.”

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