Students in Scotland are being ordered not to go to bars, restaurants or parties in an attempt to prevent the spread of coronavirus in universities.

In the last few days, hundreds of students have tested positive for the virus, with more self-isolating. 

Universities have agreed that breaches of the guidance, which states students must not socialise outside their households, will not be tolerated.

Institutions across the country will be introducing a strict 'Yellow Card/Red Card' approach to breaches of student discipline which they deem put others at risk.

Commenting after the meeting, convener of Universities Scotland, Professor Gerry McCormac said: 

Commenting after the meeting, Convener of Universities Scotland, Professor Gerry McCormac said: “University leaders share the Scottish Government’s complete commitment to keeping the student population and the wider community safe.  We have already implemented strict measures to ensure the safety of the university environment, both for teaching and for student residences.

"We have seen the majority of students live up to our expectations of responsible behaviour, but a minority have not.  Everyone across the nation shares the concern at seeing students in residences test positive for the virus and we will act decisively to deal with this.

“The additional actions we will take to drive down the transmission of the virus in student accommodation build on the wide-ranging measures already agreed with Scottish Government. Taken together, we are confident that these will help significantly to control the virus in student accommodation and impact on the number of positive cases; after the inevitable time-lag caused by some existing cases not yet being symptomatic.

“Our top priority to making sure that students that have tested positive and those quarantining are well-supported and ready to return to their studies. We appreciate this isn’t what students would have expected from their first few weeks at university, but it is critical that they play their part in suppressing the virus.”

The Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, Richard Lochhead MSP said: “This is a welcome package of additional actions, building on the clear guidance that is already in place,  to support all students and staff adhere to the rules and stay safe as they make a welcome return to study.

"We expect everyone to comply with public health advice and, as new laws come into force tomorrow, it’s even more important institutions make every effort to ensure the rules are understood and followed - and appropriate actions are taken if not.

"We know that these are difficult times for many students and we are grateful to them for the sacrifices they are making to protect themselves, their fellow students and the wider community.”