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Twenty Glasgow students test positive and eighteen Pollock residents self-isolating
by Lucy Saddler, 23/09/20

In Glasgow, up to twenty students at Murano Street Student Village are thought to be self-isolating after testing positive for coronavirus. Eighteen students in Pollock Halls, all residents of the same floor, are in lockdown today after one student developed symptoms.

Despite the individual reporting symptoms at 8pm the night before, the students didn’t go into lockdown until 11am the following day. Speaking to The Student, a source described the delay in communication as “frustrating”. The clusters emerged over the weekend following an eventful freshers’ week in which the police were called out to break-up illegal gatherings at student halls in both Edinburgh and Glasgow.

The Student has spoken to a University of Glasgow student, a resident of Murano Street Student Village, who has tested positive along with their four flatmates. Another two flats in their block have also recorded ten positive cases. Citing messages in a residents’ group Whats-App chat, the student knows of another five cases, bringing the estimated total of positive confirmed cases to twenty.

Speaking to us, the resident from the University of Glasgow said that the university and accommodations services had seemed initially unprepared and unaware as to the extent of the outbreak.

“We initially emailed them to tell them we had all been tested positive. They responded to tell us they would be in contact in 2-5 working days. They sent us an email yesterday saying that one person in our flat had tested positive so we must isolate for 14 days even though we told them that we had all tested positive. So, we phoned them again and they still thought only one of us had tested positive. I then got an individual call from them and they were again unaware that all my flatmates had also tested positive.”

According to the source, the University advice also seemed to contradict advice they had received from NHS Test and Trace.

“NHS told me I only needed to isolate for ten days until my symptoms went away and I felt better. But the university keep insisting that we all isolate for 14 days, even though we have all tested positive and they have said that we won’t be allowed out of our flat until then. They seem to be basing their advice on the basis that only one of us has tested positive. We have to do our laundry in the sink and we aren’t being allowed out even for fresh air.”

Posts on the Glasgow University anonymous confessions page, GlasKnow 2.0, also claim “there are now multiple confirmed cases of COVID in various halls of residence” and that “the university has known for a while, and is still keeping people in the dark.”

At Pollock Halls in Edinburgh, students in self-isolation are delivered food for breakfast, lunch and dinner in three carrier bags at midday. A source said that “there were no veggie options for any of the veggie people yesterday”. The source added that isolating students had “a big Zoom call with the warden” and that they were “very helpful and kind,”, saying that “we’d be able to deliver groceries to Pollock if we didn’t like the food”.

The outbreaks comes as universities across Scotland battle outbreaks amidst the influx of students arriving for the start of the new semester. The Guardian reports that hundreds of students are self-isolating in accommodation at Abertay University after a single positive case and a small number of linked suspected cases.

The Student has contacted the University of Glasgow, Murano Street Student Village, The University of Edinburgh and Pollock Halls for comment.

Photo Credit: Ben Cave