Thu 24 Sep, 2020

Packing students into university halls in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic was akin to the situation with cruise ships at the beginning of the pandemic, Scottish Greens Co-Leader Patrick Harvie MSP has said.

Speaking at First Minister’s questions this afternoon Mr Harvie noted that bringing people together from far and wide into densely populated accommodation has created the perfect conditions for the spread of the virus.

Patrick Harvie MSP said:

“Just weeks into term and we’ve already seen COVID outbreaks in universities in Edinburgh, St Andrews, Dundee, Aberdeen, and now Glasgow. Over a thousand students in halls are in self-isolation, and many of these will be first year students away from home for the first time.

 “My heart goes out to all of them. They need their universities and the Scottish Government to work urgently to provide the support that they need.

 “There is no doubt that this situation is playing a significant role in relighting the fires of the pandemic here in Scotland.

 “And most frustrating is how avoidable it was. Just like the cruise ships at the beginning of the pandemic, we have brought people from far and wide together into densely populated accommodation, creating the perfect conditions for the spread of this virus.

 “Incredibly the basic precaution of having testing easily accessible to these young people has not even been in place in most of our university towns. As walk-through test centres finally open up over the coming days, the Government must ensure that they can meet the huge increase in demand which these outbreaks will generate.

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