Coronavirus in Scotland: 11 cases linked to student flats

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Bainfield student accommodationImage source, Google
Image caption,
Napier University said 11 students have tested positive following the outbreak at the Bainfield student flats.

Eleven students have tested positive for Covid-19 following an outbreak at student accommodation.

Edinburgh Napier University is working closely with NHS Lothian's Test and Protect team, which is investigating the cluster at the Bainfield flats.

The university's principal said the circumstances surrounding the cases have yet to be established.

Student Myles Reeve is one of six undergraduates in a flat of eight who returned a positive test.

Mr Reeve, from Manchester, caught the virus after socialising with students from another flat in the same block.

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Myles Reeve and five of his seven flatmates have tested positive for Covid-19

He told BBC Scotland's The Nine: "They felt they had minor symptoms, such as a headache. They weren't sure if it was freshers' flu or the likes."

But when the students were tested the results came back positive, as did those for Mr Reeve and five of his flatmates.

While self-isolating they are still able to continue their online coursework while care packages, including pizza, have been dropped off for them.

Mr Reeve said it is "almost inevitable" that the virus will spread as the student population will continue to interact, whether it is in halls or in a pub.

Earlier, principal Prof Andrea Nolan told BBC Radio Scotland's Lunchtime Live she was hopeful the cluster had been contained.

She said: "We have identified the students who have tested positive. We have identified their close contacts.

"The health protection team isn't quite finished the tracing but we are almost there and all of their associated close contacts are in self-isolation."

Bainfield has 117 flats which can accommodate between four and eight people.

'Operational as normal'

Asked if the university would review whether to remain open if the outbreak grows, Prof Nolan said: "The university is more than its accommodation so we are here to provide support for our students to study and to learn and that is hugely important at this time."

She added that her decision making would be guided by NHS Lothian.

On Wednesday, the health board said: "Enhanced cleaning and safety measures are already in place in the university in line with national guidance.

"If someone has been in close contact with a confirmed case, they will be contacted and given advice about what they should do."

Those who have been contacted regarding the cases should isolate for two weeks, even if they do not develop any symptoms.

Only those who become symptomatic with either a new and continuous cough, a fever, a loss or change in smell or taste need to be tested.

The statement concluded: "All students and staff who have not been asked to self-isolate should continue to attend as normal."