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Guidance for students wishing to return home for Christmas due ‘very shortly’, UK govt

By Eleanor Busby

Guidance for university students wishing to return home for Christmas will be issued soon to ensure young people do not infect elderly family members, the Prime Minister has said.

The much-anticipated guidelines for the safe return of university students over the festive period will be issued “very shortly”– possibly as quickly as Tuesday, Boris Johnson suggested.

It comes after the UK Government told students in England not to leave their university accommodation before and during the second lockdown, in order to save the lives of loved ones.

Mr Johnson told a Downing Street press conference on Monday: “Clearly we don’t want young people going back and infecting elderly members of their family over the Christmas period.

“So tomorrow, or very shortly, we will be issuing guidance for what they should do.”

Guidance from the Department for Education (DfE) last week told university students not to leave their term-time address to return home between November 5 and December 2.

But further guidance on how students can return home safely next month is yet to be published.

England’s deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam said: “I know colleagues are working on a solution for how to get students home as safely as possible.

“It is a genuinely important question to ask.”

Mass testing could be rolled out to university students to curb the spread of coronavirus, the Prime Minister has suggested.

Mr Johnson urged residents of Liverpool to take part in the mass testing pilot scheme in the city, and he said the Government was distributing “hundreds of thousands” of rapid lateral flow coronavirus tests to local authorities right across England and the devolved administrations.

“We’re also working with universities to establish, as soon as possible, similar mass-testing capacity for students up and down the country,” he told the Downing Street press conference.

Mr Johnson added: “But while we are making progress, this project is still in its infancy.”


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