Coronavirus tests to increase in Oxford as students return

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People walking past a building at University of OxfordImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Oxford University is providing its own coronavirus testing service

There will be an increase in coronavirus tests in Oxford to cope with the return of university students to the city.

The University of Oxford and Oxford Brookes University are implementing the new measures to ensure a "safe start to the new academic year".

Oxford University is providing its own testing service.

Meanwhile a facility at Oxford Brookes will be open to staff, students, and the local community.

Oxford Brookes has been working with Oxfordshire County Council to set up the testing station, which is available via appointment to nearby residents.

Other measures include:

  • Local contact tracing systems to track attendance across campuses
  • Outbreak control plans which have been tested through joint exercises
  • Online learning instead of large lectures, with only small scale teaching on campuses
Image source, Bill Nicholls
Image caption,
A facility at Oxford Brookes will be open to staff, students, and the local community

Ansaf Azhar, director of public health at the council, said it was "easy for students to get carried away amid all the excitement of a new university year" but said it was "vitally important they remember that the virus still presents a risk... and get tested promptly if they show symptoms".

Susan Brown, leader of Oxford City Council, said while students were a "vital part" of city life they needed to "abide by the health guidelines to keep Oxford's communities safe".

Prof Alistair Fitt, vice-chancellor of Oxford Brookes, said they had been "working tirelessly to put in place a large number of precautions, in line with government and public health advice".

"The health and safety of all who study and work here, and the wider community in Oxford, is our highest priority, and we have been making adjustments to the way we live and work," Baroness Jan Royall, joint head of Oxford University's Michaelmas co-ordination group, added.

Oxford University was first affected by the virus in early March, when one of its students tested positive after returning from abroad.

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