Peter Stubley, writing in the Independent on Sunday 11 October 2020, reported that, as Nottingham's infection rate soars, the Police have condemned the 'reckless few' for breaching the rule of six restrictions. ...

Coronavirus: Students fined for throwing party to celebrate negative test results

Police condemn ‘reckless few’ who risk spreading virus in Nottingham as city’s infection rate soars to be country’s highest

Ten students have been fined by police after celebrating their negative Covid test results with house parties in the city with the highest case rate in England.

One group of four men and three women told officers they were entitled to have a party in Lenton, Nottingham, because they did not have the virus.

Another three students became "confrontational" when police turned up to shut down their regulation-busting gathering at a different house in the same area.

Nottinghamshire Police condemned the "reckless few" for breaching the rule of six restrictions while the area awaits a government announcement on stricter lockdown measures on Monday.

The University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University both said any students who flouted the rules will face disciplinary action.

According to the latest figures from Public Health England, Nottingham reported 2,763 new cases in the week up to 8 October - the equivalent of a rate of 830 cases per 100,000 people.

It follows an outbreak at the University Nottingham, which has reported positive tests for 425 students and eight staff for the week ending 2 October.

A University of Nottingham spokesperson said: "We are deeply disappointed at the behaviour of this minority of students this weekend. This is unrepresentative of the wider university community which has been acting responsibly in following the rules, doing the right thing and helping to reduce the rate of transmission our city.

"The university will investigate breaches of the coronavirus restrictions, which are an offence under our student code of discipline, and there are serious consequences for any students who do not obey the rules, including disciplinary action, fines and campus sanctions – in addition to police fines."

Nottinghamshire Police said they also dispersed three other gatherings including a hot tub party in the market town of Retford, a student party involving more than 20 people in Radford, Nottingham, and a birthday party in West Bridgford. No fines were issued after those involved agreed to disperse immediately.

Detective Superintendent Mike Allen said: "It has been a varied weekend. The vast majority of people, including students, have understood the very serious situation the city and county are currently in with infection numbers rapidly increasing on a daily basis in given areas of the city and county.

"People have by and large been following the rules and the city was relatively quiet as a result with people heeding the message to stay at home this weekend to stop the numbers rising.

"Others who did come out did tend to also follow rule of six and social distancing rules and we are grateful for those that are complying.

"However sadly there are still those people out there who think the rules simply don't apply to them. These reckless few risk spreading the virus. Therefore these people leave us with no option but to hand out fines as we have done this weekend.

"And worryingly some of those flouting the rules are of all ages and geographies despite all the warnings given to us all. We discovered some even hosting parties for being out of isolation and others hosting a birthday party. It defies logic of any kind."

Four people were also ordered to get off the tram in Nottingham for not wearing masks.

City council leader David Mellen said: "I am pleased that the vast majority of people appear to have been sensible and realised the Covid situation in Nottingham is extremely serious. I thank them for overwhelmingly doing the right thing this weekend.

"Where there were cases of behaviour in breach of Covid rules, our Community Protection Officers were on hand to support the police in keeping everyone safe, and I am grateful to them and the police for their efforts."

Coronavirus: Students fined for throwing party to celebrate negative test results | The Independent