The task of testing thousands of Dundee students for coronavirus ahead of the Christmas break has begun.
On Monday the institute of sport and exercise at Dundee University was transformed into a mass Covid-19 testing site.
Students are being asked to take two separate coronavirus tests three to five days apart and once they have a confirmed negative result, they can travel home safely back to their families for Christmas.
“Hundreds” of students tested on first day of Dundee University mass testing
Hundreds of students came through the doors of the university test centre on the first day alone.
Dundee University said this shows students in the city have responded well to the call to take up a free test.
The spokesman said: “It has been a major challenge to establish the asymptomatic test centre within a very short timescale but thanks to the great efforts of staff we were ready to welcome students for testing from 9am, and hundreds will have had their first test by the end of the day.
“Take up has been very good and reflects the positive response of students, who are keen to ensure their own health and that of family and friends they may be returning home to over the winter break.
“The testing is voluntary but we are strongly encouraging students to get tested before travelling home.
“We have capacity within the system, so any student who hasn’t yet booked a test or tests should still be able to do so, using the links which have been sent to students and posted to social media channels.”
Dundee and Abertay universities working together to test students
Both Dundee and Abertay are working together to get all the students tested ahead of the Christmas break.
As a result, all students at Abertay University will travel to the Institute of Sport and Exercise at Dundee University to have their coronavirus test done.
A spokesman for Abertay said: “We are working closely with the Scottish Government, the local public health team and Dundee University to offer asymptomatic students access to Covid-19 testing before the Christmas break.
“All students have been made aware of the voluntary programme and issued with extensive information and FAQ guidance, including detailed arrangements for testing, travel and moving teaching online.”
Testing gives students an “insurance policy”, but top professor warns it won’t make a “big difference”
Professor Hugh Pennington, a professor of bacteriology at Aberdeen University, said the mass testing means students can be assured they will not spread coronavirus to their family members.
However he warns this testing programme will not make a “big difference” to overall infection rates over the Christmas period.
He said: “We have had big student outbreaks and the worry is the virus is still circulating around some students.
“This testing is to look for students who are asymptomatic and it is not for their benefit, it is for their family members when they go home.
“If they go and see their parents and grandparents and they don’t know they are infected, they could end up transmitting the virus to elderly relatives and that is a big problem.
“It means they can enjoy Christmas without having to feel guilty about infecting people.
“If the students test positive they will need to self-isolate and they need to do that wherever their accommodation is and they certainly shouldn’t be travelling.
“The universities have a fair amount of familiarity with the student body self-isolating and are equipped to deal with that.
“I don’t think it will make a big difference but it is an insurance policy to make sure students don’t unwittingly take the virus home and infect their family.
“My concern is the relaxing of rules will help the virus so the more tests the better,” he added.