Scotland starts viral testing of students before Christmas


The centuries-old university set up the center as part of a deployment of Covid-19 testing for students across Scotland

As an unusual term draws to a close and the Christmas holidays draw closer, students from the University of St Andrews in Scotland have entered and exited a gym which has been transformed into a coronavirus mass test.

“It’s a huge peace of mind to be able to come home and be with my family, knowing that everything is safe,” said Fiona Waddell, a 19-year-old psychology student before the center opened for testing. Saturday.

“We are lucky to be able to be together at Christmas and I just don’t want anything to compromise that,” she told AFP.

The centuries-old university on the north-east coast of Scotland has set up the center as part of a COVID-19 testing rollout for students across Scotland before the end of the term.

The facility, where students self-test with one of the millions of lateral flow test kits that have been provided to Scotland by the UK government, can accommodate 1,500 students per day.

It will remain open until December 18, and students planning to return home for the festive break are invited to take two tests three days apart.

The British government in London, which sets health policy for England, and devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have unveiled plans to allow students to return home for Christmas.

They all want to minimize the risk of the virus spreading when traveling.

Students from England and Wales have been asked to return home for a period of a week after taking coronavirus tests.

In Scotland, a phased return is expected over the seven-day window.

A survey by the St Andrews Students’ Association found that around 80% of students plan to return home for the holidays

‘Good opportunity’

Alastair Merrill, vice director of governance at St Andrews, said the asymptomatic testing initiative means when students return home they can “keep their families and communities safe when they do” .

Lateral flow test results are posted within 30 minutes and processed and sent to students within 24 hours.

A survey conducted by the St Andrews Students’ Association found that around 80% of students plan to return home for the holidays.

Rebecca Clunie, a 22-year-old chemistry student, who rubbed her throat and the back of her nose to self-administer the test, said taking the test earlier meant she could self-test. – isolate before returning home, if necessary.

“Even though it’s positive, I still have time to isolate myself before I have to go home,” she explained.

Anna-Ruth Cockerham, a 20-year-old studying mathematics, said it would be good to come home after a term where social interaction was limited because of the virus.

“I also think that a lot of students, myself included, haven’t had the opportunity to really mix with other people, so being able to go home and see your family is a good opportunity,” he said. she adds.

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© 2020 AFP

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