More than 100 students and staff at Sunderland University have tested positive for Covid-19.

The university said the total figure, as of 7 October, showed 102 students and nine staff were confirmed as coronavirus cases.

Student cases were “largely clustered” in accommodation and the university said it was offering support.

Work to deliver timetabled teaching and support on campus continued, it added, supplemented by online learning.

A spokesperson said the “vast majority” were following its safe campus guidance and those who needed to self-isolate were being told.

‘Breaking the rules’

A new walk-through testing facility for those with symptoms opened at the university’s Johnson Street car park on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott said she understood why her constituents were breaking the law to visit family in other houses.

Since 30 September it has been illegal for people living in several parts of north-east England to mix indoors with other households, in any setting, as part of tighter restrictions.

The Labour MP said while she did not condone the actions, she understood why many were breaking lockdown rules as the government had “not listened” to local people’s needs.

“The reality is that people in the area I represent are seeing their family members, they’re breaking the rules, they’re going into houses,” she told a commons public health debate.

“These regulations and the regulations in Sunderland are actually making the virus spread worse, not improving them – because the government has not listened to local people and the requests of leaders, cross-party leaders, of what the needs of the North East were.”

Care Minister Helen Whately MP said local views had “absolutely been taken into account”.

“We need to continue to take the steps that are necessary because as we know the real exit from this is for us to see rates come down,” she added.

Source: BBC

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