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Universities could become the new coronavirus breeding grounds, government group of scientists warn

UNIVERSITIES face a “significant risk” of becoming the new breeding grounds for the coronavirus when they reopen this month, according to a new scientific report.

Infected students could further spread the virus to families and communities when they return home for the Christmas and new year break, the report from the Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (Sage) said on Friday.

Higher education “collectively creates a large number of connections within universities and communities across the UK, with considerable international links,” it added.

Detecting the virus in young people poses problems because often they do not show symptoms, it said.

The University and College Union (UCU) said that the government needed to listen to the findings in the report. 

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: “This report is sobering reading and brings the dangers associated with reopening university campuses into sharp focus. 

“It exposes how wrong it was to try to pretend this would be business as usual. The worry now is how ill-prepared the government and universities appear to be.”

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