University students banned from pubs to control outbreak

Universities Scotland said the move was a 'necessary step at this crucial moment'.

Scottish students have been banned from going to pubs in a bid to control a number of outbreaks of coronavirus.

University students around the country will not be able to go to other hospitality venues like cafes or restaurants either.

Parties will be strictly forbidden and students must not socialise outside their household, with governing body Universities Scotland warning “breaches will not be tolerated”.

It said it will implement a “yellow card/red card approach” for anyone who breaks the new rules, with the possibility of students having their studies discontinued as a last-resort punishment.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted she was “so sorry” about the experience of students since the return of universities but said the measures “won’t last forever”.

Universities Scotland blamed a “minority” of students for not living up to “our expectations of responsible behaviour”.

It follows reports that more than 1000 students across Scotland are self-isolating in halls of residence following a number of outbreaks.

At least 124 students have tested positive for Covid-19 at the University of Glasgow.

More than 600 students are now in quarantine following “two significant clusters” linked to the university’s Murano Street and Cairncross residences.

Meanwhile in Edinburgh, a total of 120 cases have been identified in an outbreak at Edinburgh Napier University.

NHS Lothian said the positive results had been confirmed by the establishment, with a small number at the University of Edinburgh and Queen Margaret University, bringing the full tally to more than 125 cases.

In a statement, Universities Scotland said: “This weekend, the first of the new tighter Scottish Government guidance, we will require students to avoid all socialising outside of their households and outside of their accommodation. 

“We will ask them not to go to bars or other hospitality venues. We will be clear that this is a necessary step at this crucial moment of managing the virus in the student population, to protect students and the wider community.

“We will take a strict ‘Yellow Card/Red Card’ approach to breaches of student discipline that put students and others at risk.

“While we first want to advise students about breaches of discipline, we will not hesitate to escalate this to disciplinary action including potential discontinuation of study.”

All students will also be required to download the Protect Scotland app.

And earlier on Thursday, it was revealed students living in university accommodation are not allowed to go home to visit their parents indoors.

National clinical director Jason Leitch clarified tightened restrictions on household mixing that came into effect across Scotland this week.

He said on social media: “Was asked last night whether students in halls and flats can go back to parents’ homes. To clarify, they are a separate household.

“There are exceptions, eg caring responsibilities, but the law is clear: they can’t meet indoors with another household – even mum and dad. Sorry.”

The National Union of Students Scotland has hit out at the decision.

President Matt Crilly said: “Tonight’s announcement by Universities Scotland and endorsed by the Scottish Government unfairly blames students for the spread of coronavirus and takes the unjustified step of applying different rules to students over and above the rest of the adult population.”

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code