Exeter University to offer Covid tests to students

Tests

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image captionThe University’s deputy vice chancellor said the safety of staff and students were their “first priority”

A university has signed a contract with a private company to buy thousands of coronavirus tests for students and staff.

The University of Exeter will be offering the tests to anyone showing symptoms or who is deemed at high risk.

Deputy vice chancellor Tim Quine said the safety of staff and students was the university’s “first priority”.

The saliva-based tests, provided by Halo, will give results within 24 hours, it claimed.

Mr Quine told BBC Radio Devon the university had to do its own bit to help prevent the spread of the virus.

He said: “By bringing students to the region we know we are changing the risk dynamic”.

“We want to make sure we are doing all we can not to overburden the NHS resources and testing facilities locally.

“We said that in reopening the university our first priority is the safety and wellbeing of students and staff and the community and we think it’s a key part in fulfilling that.”

The university said it “has put in place a full suite of measures to protect the whole community including providing face coverings, digital thermometers, Covid-secure buildings and protocols for staff and student behaviour”.

It has also set up a rapid response hub for all students and staff to report symptoms and request tests.

The move comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson

urged universities not to send students home in the event of an outbreak “so as to avoid spreading the virus across the country”. He also urged students to limit gatherings to six people.

The University of Oxford also announced it will be running its own testing service “to ensure a safe start to the year”, while Cambridge said it would offer all students living in college accommodation a weekly coronavirus test after term begins on 8 October.

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