Despite the best efforts of universities to control Covid-19 on campus, there are concerns that the arrival of students for Freshers' Week could see a spike in cases

Concerns that arrival of students for Freshers' Week could spread Covid-19


THE prospect of thousands of students descending on universities for Freshers' Week has sparked concerns about a rise in Covid-19 cases and potential transmission to older people.

Officials are worried about a possible spike in cases caused by the new academic year, as lockdown restrictions are gradually eased and pubs and bars take steps towards re-opening.

Even without heading out or going to university, some young people are causing the virus to spread by flouting rules on gatherings and holding house parties.

The issue is also complicated by the large number of students in Northern Ireland who live on campus during the week and then head home at the weekend, potentially transmitting the virus even further despite the best efforts of universities, according to the BBC.

Last month Queen's University Belfast announced that face coverings would be mandatory on some parts of its campus, while Ulster University has made wearing a mask obligatory in lectures and classes.

Northern Ireland's Chief Scientific Officer Professor Ian Young, has urged students to act responsibly, wearing masks and maintaining social distancing if sharing a car to travel home.

The numbers of young people being infected has shown a steady rise in recent weeks, with British Health Secretary Matt Hancock describing the arrival of students at university this month as "a concern".