The national clinical director Professor Jason Leitch has said students should think 'very carefully about weekends at home'.

More than 600 students are currently self-isolating across Glasgow university accommodation, after at least 124 students at the University of Glasgow tested positive for coronavirus.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4 Today, Prof Leitch said he is worried about the potential for students to transmit the virus when travelling home for weekends and the two-week Christmas period.  

It comes after the Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he couldn't rule out banning students from returning home at Christmas.

READ MORE: Glasgow University: At least 124 students test positive for coronavirus

Speaking to Michal Husain on the popular radio news show, Prof Leitch said: 

"I was always worried about universities coming back and I remain worried about universities coming back.

"The university have acted quickly, I spoke to the student association leaders of the country in the last 24 hours, people are taking it very seriously.

"But, there are a significant number of positive cases, and that is a concern."

When asked about potential plans for Christmas, he said:

"I’m worried about people going to areas with infection and coming back with infection, not just for Christmas but for weekends, for perhaps special events at home.

"I would like them to think very very carefully about weekends at home, and think about how they can make that as safe as they can.

"I think we’ll have to take a view, in the next couple of months, about what we do at Christmas time.

"I think asking everyone to stay in their halls of residence for the two week holiday period over christmas is unrealistic, but we will have to put in place something that helps us keep safe.

"Christmas is going to be a difficult period to live with covid, so we’re going to have to think very carefully across the world and across the UK about how we do that."

READ MORE: University of Glasgow student discusses lockdown parties

He added that "young and healthy" students must remember that the virus can still pose a risk. He said:

“If you give this virus to a hundred random people in your country, four per cent will be seriously unwell, one per cent will probably die.

"This group are young and healthy so those numbers are much smaller, but you cannot tell if you are an 18 year old fresher, that you won’t get a serious illness."

He also noted that not all students will observe the two-metre rule, but added that "everybody understands the rules", and confirmed that the universities will be stepping up both correspondence with students as well as enforcement. 

"I really hope we don’t need enforcement, what I’d much rather have is engagement, education, and getting students to help us in this mission, rather than blaming a section of society and making it somebody’s fault.

"That doesn’t help them, and it doesn’t help us.

"You’re not allowed to have any visitors in your home in Scotland at all, so that applies in university halls of residence.

"That is so harsh, I can’t even believe I’m saying it out loud - but that’s the rule, for now.

"There is hope parties will return. But for now, they are literally too dangerous, and that’s why we have to stop them from happening."

In an interview on Times Radio, Mr Hancock was asked whether students would be encouraged to stay at university over Christmas.

He said: “We have said that students should stay at university until Christmas… We don’t rule out the suggestion you just made but I don’t want to have to say that. It is some time off.

“I very much hope that we won’t have to say that, but as I say I don’t rule it out.

“The important thing is in the short-term, students once they’ve gone to university should stay at university so as not to spread the disease.”

At the University of Aberdeen, 72 residents in Wavell House have been asked to self-isolate after a number of students tested positive.

The university said they are being supported with food and supplies and affected areas of the building are being given a deep clean."

Laura Rettie, Vice President of education consultancy, Studee, commented:

"The prospect of students being told they won't be allowed home to their families feels exceptionally draconian. This would not go down well with students or their families - Christmas is like a milestone, especially for first years, many of whom won’t have seen family for three months. 

"Stopping the spread of the virus must be a priority but students should have been warned that this was a possibility before committing to moving across the country or abroad. Universities should be treated on a case by case basis and only keep students on campus throughout the holidays if absolutely necessary.

"The simple fact is the government must get their act together and find a way around this before December. We simply cannot have a situation where students have to pay the price because of a lack of competence when it comes to organising a system to test quickly and effectively."