First coronavirus outbreak found in London university halls

Students are self-isolating after a “small cluster” of coronavirus cases were confirmed in the first known outbreak of Covid-19 at a London university.

About 50 students at the Royal College of Music have been told to stay in the Prince Consort Village in Hammersmith after receiving an email warning of “one confirmed case and two other suspected cases”.

A spokeswoman for the university said no other buildings have been affected.

She added: “Our student accommodation is not in lockdown. We currently have a small cluster of confirmed cases of Covid-19 at our halls of residence and these individuals, and those who share their facilities, are self-isolating while being fully supported by staff.”

Those who are self-isolating are continuing their studies online. The campus in South Kensington remains open with strict social distancing and students have said a mobile testing site has been set up.

One student told the Standard she is self-isolating despite not having symptoms or being in contact with anyone confirmed as having the virus. She said: “It’s a bit scary, you never know if you’re doing the right thing or not — whether you should be here or not.”

Hammersmith and Fulham council leader Stephen Cowan told Politics Home: “This is the type of event that we’ve been planning for all summer.

“Our team is fully engaged with everyone affected and doing our best to ensure the infection does not spread. It’s absolutely important that people socially distance, wear a face mask, wash hands and carry hand sanitiser.”

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