Manchester university tells 1,700 students to isolate after COVID outbreak

A university in Manchester has ordered 1,700 of its students to isolate following an outbreak of the coronavirus.

The Birley campus and Cambridge Halls at Manchester Metropolitan University has instructed its students to stay in their rooms for 14 days, even if they aren't showing COVID symptoms.

127 students at the university have tested positive for coronavirus.

Across the UK, at least 32 universities have confirmed cases, while one other has suspected cases.

Irish President Mary McAleese after receiving an honorary degree at Manchester Metropolitan University.

A Sky News survey has found that 510 cases have been identified among students and staff since universities reopened at the start of the month.

The University and College Union said the incident was ''the latest catastrophe in a week where wholly predictable - and predicted - COVID-19 outbreaks have caused havoc on campuses across the UK".

Speaking to Sky, general secretary Jo Grady said:

"We warned last month of the problems with moving thousands of students across the country. The time has come for urgent action from ministers and universities to protect staff and students.

Students at Manchester Metropolitan University form a queue outside Domino's Pizza on Thursday lunchtime. Apparently the queue is normal for the branch.

"Manchester Metropolitan University shifting teaching online only for foundation and first-year students exposes the total absurdity of the current position of trying to continue with blended learning."


Councillor Bev Craig of Manchester City Council, said:

"This is obviously very difficult for all of the young people involved. We will be working with the university and other public services to make sure that any of the students affected get the support they need.

"Students are a vital part of our city. As part of our plans we expected that numbers could rise as they returned to the city."

The leader of the Liberal Democrats, Ed Davey, laid the blame at the door of the government.