University of St Andrews Vice-Chancellor asks students to lock down

18 September 2020, 18:58 | Updated: 18 September 2020, 22:28

Students at the University of St Andrews have been asked to voluntarily stay at home this weekend
Students at the University of St Andrews have been asked to voluntarily stay at home this weekend. Picture: PA Images
Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

The Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of St Andrews has asked students to take part in a "voluntary lockdown" this weekend.

Sally Mapstone issued an "urgent and important" message to students on Friday afternoon asking them to stay in their rooms from 7pm this evening and avoid mixing with other households.

She also asked students not to head into town and meet people at pubs, bars and restaurants this weekend.

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In an email, she wrote: "It is now very clear that rates of Covid infection are surging again in various parts of this country, and it is very likely that we are very close to a form of further national lockdown.

"In these circumstances, I am writing to all of our students to ask you to please observe a voluntary lockdown this weekend, effective from 7pm this evening.

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"This means that I am asking you all to remain in your rooms as much as possible, not to party, not to go to bars or restaurants, and to avoid mixing with any groups outside your own households."

It follows a sharp increase in the number of new Covid-19 cases being reported across the UK.

"I appreciate that this request will appear to some of you to be premature," she added, "but a hallmark of this pandemic has been that, as a society, we have acted too slowly in the past, and thousands of people have died unnecessarily as a result."

Professor Mapstone told students to take "early action" to save the lives of "those with whom we share this town."

"We acted swiftly in March when the pandemic first hit Fife, and the situation we face now is just as serious," she added.

"In addition to my request to you to observe these voluntary restrictions, we have also decided that all events planned for this weekend should be postponed."

President of the University of St Andrews Students Association, Dan Marshall, told LBC: "I think it's a welcome intervention. I think we've seen throughout the last few months that where Governments intervene early to stop the spread of the virus it's been much more effective.

He added: "It's positive that these interventions have come early and not once the virus has got a foothold in our communities."

The University recognised that there is no evidence that the virus is surging in St Andrews, but said it wants to introduce the measures to "make a difference" and demonstrate early intervention.

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