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Queen’s University ‘closely monitoring’ situation as coronavirus cases increase

It has been reported that 166 students at the south Belfast university have tested positive for Covid-19.

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Queen’s University in Belfast. (Liam McBurney/PA)

Queen’s University in Belfast. (Liam McBurney/PA)

Queen’s University in Belfast. (Liam McBurney/PA)

The Queen’s University Belfast is “closely monitoring” an increase in coronavirus cases and has not ruled out introducing further measures to stem the spread.

It has been reported that 166 students and staff at the south Belfast university have tested positive for Covid-19.

Around 25,000 students started back last month for the new academic year.

In a statement the university said the safety and wellbeing of staff and students is its “first priority”, and a “range of interventions” have been made across campus.

We all have an individual responsibility and a collective responsibility to work our way through what is going to be the most challenging of timesMichelle O'Neill

“The university is liaising with the Public Health Agency (PHA) on a daily basis to ensure the university is continuing to apply the correct measures to limit the spread of infection,” a spokesperson said.

“Although the number of staff and students affected remains a minority, the increase in number of positive cases is a concern and the university fully appreciates that this may cause anxiety for students, staff, and their families.

“Queen’s is closely monitoring the situation and will not hesitate to apply additional measures to further protect members of our community as considered necessary in discussions with the PHA.”

The university went on to detail that evidence gathered through contact tracing has indicated that transmission of the virus is happening in social or accommodation settings.

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Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill. (Rebecca Black/PA)

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill. (Rebecca Black/PA)

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill. (Rebecca Black/PA)

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said she is alarmed and worried about the number of cases among students and staff.

“That’s something that needs to be addressed, and needs very strong leadership from the universities,” she said.

“What we need to see is very clear communication with the students.

“At the end of last week, I met with the National Union of Students (NUS), they very clearly articulated to me that they don’t feel they are getting the information that is required, so I think that is something that needs to be addressed because we all have an individual responsibility and a collective responsibility to work our way through what is going to be the most challenging of times.”

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