We’ve heard this morning that an evacuation-style operation will take place to get students home safely for Christmas after England’s lockdown.
The key part of the plan is the mass distribution of rapid result Covid tests, beginning at the end of November, which will then be followed by a “travel window” in early December for students to return home.
Jacqui Rammage, executive dean for the science faculty at Durham University, which has been piloting a mass testing programme, welcomed the plan.
“I think mass testing is absolutely essential because… so many people in the age group that our students are in are asymptotic carriers of the virus,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
Ellen Brooks Pollock, an infectious diseases modeller at the University of Bristol, said the government’s new plan was “an improvement” but she warned about the restrictions of the type of rapid testing to be used on students.
She told Today that the self-administered “lateral flow” tests were not as accurate as PCR testing – the type of tests that has been used at the NHS Covid tests.
“Although a positive test is a good indicator of infection, a negative test does not guarantee that you’re not infected,” she said.
Read more here about the dilemma students face.