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International students fear further restrictions might impede return home

Amidst a tightening of self-isolation rules and further implementation of lockdown measures in University of Edinburgh halls, some international students have expressed dismay at what they perceive as the more relaxed attitude of some students towards the pandemic.

Many international students are growing increasingly concerned about getting home for Christmas, with many facing several weeks of self – isolation upon their return home and then again on their subsequent arrival back in Edinburgh. 

Speaking to The Student, a first-year Edinburgh student from China, who has just completed two weeks of self-isolation in Grant House, Pollock said “I think it’s necessary to keep social distance, but obviously the careless attitude of some students towards the epidemic situation makes me feel stressed”. 

They added that during their self-isolation period other students “asked me if I would like to play cards in pantry together. It surprised me. And they didn’t wear masks in corridor during isolation. It seems that they really didn’t take this seriously.” 

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Their comments come as the University of Edinburgh continues to battle an uptick in positive cases in halls of residence. 

On Wednesday night, students in Ewing House were ordered into two weeks of self-isolation. Other halls of residence have seen whole floors and corridors isolating. 

Comparing the University’s approach towards positive cases and China’s approach, the student said “I can’t understand that Pollock let positive cases still isolated in their own rooms, and they will continue to share bathroom and corridor with people on the same floor. This obviously increases the possibility of getting illness among students on the same floor. China tends to gather positive patients together.”

With regards to returning home at Christmas, the student said “Before I came, I had mental preparation to stay here for a half-year or longer. Because of the epidemic, there was no direct plane, and both coming to the UK and returning to China would need isolation, which is very troublesome.

“I keep in touch with my family every day, so I feel OK about not being able to go home. But if Pollock really locks down, it will be a really terrible thing.”

Another University of Edinburgh student, a third-year American, told The Student that “it is quite sad to see those who are not required to self-isolate (whether from an exempt country or a UK-resident) be careless and selfish violating COVID-19 restrictions while there is a group of us who obey the law.”

Having self-isolated on their arrival in Scotland in September, the student expressed worry about being able to return back to America for Christmas.

“I am concerned about going home for Christmas – travelling home requires quite a hop, skip and a jump.

“Further restrictions could affect international flights in and out of the UK, which could increase the time on my journey home due to flight connections and transfers”. 

The student fears that the current behaviour of some students, flouting restrictions, will inevitably lead to a tighter lockdown in the imminent future.

“It is these selfish people who will ultimately contribute to the rise in cases and affect my journey home at Christmas.”

Image Credit: Prashanthns via Wikipedia Commons

By Lucy Saddler

News Editor.