December 11, 2020 11.38 am This story is over 9 months old

“Stop criticising students” as tests show low infection rate

Just 28 cases now

Lincolnshire health bosses criticised “negative feelings” towards students over coronavirus as mass testing yielded low numbers of cases.

The University of Lincoln continues to have low infection rates, according to bosses. The latest count saw 28 coronavirus positive cases on campus, out of a 15,000 student cohort.

It comes as universities elsewhere also report low rates with a sample of 4,500 students at Portsmouth University finding just 0.2% of positive cases.

Lincolnshire County Council’s director of public health Professor Derek Ward said it was really encouraging to see the lower numbers.

He acknowledged there had been blips — including a recent case where a student was fined £10,000 after hosting a party of up to 100 other students — but said those were rare.

He added: “The really important point here is that earlier on there was quite a lot of negative feeling that students were contributing and driving the pandemic, and we saw a peak in numbers at the beginning of term.

“But the young people in the country who are in further or higher education, the vast majority have been exemplary in how they’ve approached this.

“They’ve been isolated if they have had symptoms, the numbers have been dropping right the way through the academic year and I think the fact that we’re finding very few asymptomatic students is a real positive.”

A spokesperson for the University of Lincoln could not provide details of how many tests had been done, but said the majority of students had now gone home for Christmas.

They said testing at its peak had been fully booked.

“The students have been amazing, they have been brilliant. Our numbers are lower compared to Lincoln and Boston in general, and that would suggest that the students on campus are not driving the R-rate higher.”

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