COVID SPREAD: UNIVERSITIES A 'HIGH RISK SETTING'
On Friday 25 September 2020, Neil Shaw, Nottingham Post Network Content Editor reported on the comments of Jonathan Ball, Professor of Molecular Virology at Nottingham University who he quoted as saying that universities are 'particularly high risk settings' with potential for rapid spread of the coronavirus. ...
Universities are 'high risk setting' where Covid can spread rapidly
"I think for some time most universities have recognised that this is a problem"
Universities are high-risk settings where coronavirus could spread quickly and easily, according to an expert.
Jonathan Ball, professor of molecular virology at the University of Nottingham, is part of a team which devised a new testing programme for students.
Prof Ball said the university has had a pilot running with veterinary students who started back towards the end of July being tested weekly and told the Today programme they identified a single positive case in an asymptomatic person and three weeks on there have been no more cases identified.
Prof Ball said they were able to identify the case rapidly and “potentially stop an outbreak before it started”.
Asked if he thinks there is a case for more co-ordination, he said: “I think for some time most universities have recognised that this is a problem for a long time.
“I know that our university in particular have been trying to reach out to Government, for example, to try and work closely with pillar 2 testing, with track and trace, and to try and get a co-ordinated effort across universities working with health authorities, public health in particular, local NHS – those kinds of collaborations to try and increase our capacity to test and to be able to do community surveillance because that’s something that’s very low on the ground.
“If you think about these people aren’t going to have symptoms and yet potentially can spread, then if you’re missing those out of your testing strategy and regime then you’ve got a potential problem.”
Professor Ball said universities are “particularly high risk settings” with potential for rapid spread of the virus.