Freshers have not allowed new coronavirus restrictions to dampen their first few weeks at university, as thousands start moving into halls.
Despite the ‘rule of six’ coming into effect just before the party was about to begin, students don’t seem to have let that bother them as they hit the town to mark the new term.
The university experience will be very different for this year’s freshers, with social distancing, sitting-only nightclubs, and protective screens separating them from peers in some union bars.
No 10 issued fresh guidance to universities just days before students returned to help them slow the spread of the virus as campuses reopened. It comes amid concern that infections among young people have surged.
As of Monday, students are officially banned from throwing parties, with anyone meeting in a group of more than six facing fines or being dispersed by police.
Ministers are considering taking restrictions further with a 10pm curfew for the public and ordering pubs to shut early if the rule of six fails to slow the spread of the virus.
The R rate has risen above 1 again and the UK saw its highest increase in infections since early May, with almost 4,000 cases recorded on Wednesday.
A health minister urged students not to have too much fun and warned them of the dangers of spreading Covid-19 in their bedrooms.
Lord Bethell acknowledged that restrictions will have an impact on students’ social lives but urged them to take responsibility for their actions and avoid sleepovers.
He said: ‘We are deeply concerned about the spread among students. Some of that spread will take place in universities, and I pay tribute to the efforts of vice-chancellors to put in place social distancing arrangements in universities; we hope that they will have an impact.
‘However, some of the effect is in their social life — in pubs, clubs and bedrooms up and down the country’.
Other recommendations issued to universities included staggered arrival times, a mixture of online and face-to-face teaching, while students watching performances will not be allowed to shout or cheer.
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