Hundreds of students in Manchester were told to self-isolate on Friday after 127 of them tested positive for coronavirus.
Residents at the Birley campus and Cambridge Halls at Manchester Metropolitan University have been told to stay in their rooms for 14 days, even if they have no symptoms.
Halt in-person university teaching until test and trace fixed, union urges
In total 1,700 students were locked down, according to the Manchester Evening News.
The rate of Covid-19 spread in Manchester was 185.6 per 100,000 people in the week up to 22 September, when 1,026 positive tests were recorded, figures show.
This was almost twice the rate of the previous week when the infection rate was 93.2 per 100,000, with 515 cases.
The news came after all students in Scotland were told to avoid pubs this weekend as part of efforts to prevent outbreaks in university campuses from spreading into the wider population.
The University and College Union (UCU), which represents more than 120,000 academics and support staff, has described the Manchester incident as “the latest catastrophe in a week where wholly predictable – and predicted – Covid outbreaks have caused havoc on campuses across the UK”.
The UCU general secretary, Jo Grady, said: “We warned last month of the problems with moving thousands of students across the country and the time has come for urgent action from ministers and universities to protect staff and students.
“Manchester Metropolitan University shifting teaching online only for foundation and first year students exposes the total absurdity of the current position of trying to continue with blended learning.”
Councillor Bev Craig, executive member for adult health and wellbeing for Manchester city council, said: “This is obviously very difficult for all of the young people involved and we will be working with the university and other public services to make sure that any of the students affected get the support they need.
“Students are a vital part of our city, and as part of our plans we expected that numbers could rise as they returned to the city.”
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