Concerns have been raised over possible human rights implications after Scotland's students were told not to go to pubs and restaurants this weekend.

A raft of new guidelines for university students was announced on Thursday evening following a spike in the number of cases being recorded at halls of residence across the country.

Hundreds of students have tested positive for coronavirus since term began for many last week.

Now, students have been told they should not be going to hospitality venues, and action will be taken if guidelines are flouted.

The Children and Young People's Commissioner Scotland, which promotes and safeguards children's rights, say they are seeking urgent talks with Universities Scotland and the Scottish Government over the new rules.

In a tweet, they said: "We have seen reports about restrictions on students this evening. We are concerned about the human rights implications & will be seeking an urgent conversation with @scotgov and @uni_scot to establish the nature and legal basis for these restrictions."

They told The Herald that they are raising concerns directly with the Scottish Government and Universities Scotland, and will not be making further public statements until after then. 

The new guidelines have also drawn in criticism from the University and College Union in Scotland, who say students should not be treated as "second class citizens".

UCU Scotland official Mary Senior said: “It is astounding that the Scottish Government and principals are blaming students for Covid outbreaks on university campuses. 

"This is an incredibly contagious virus and students were encouraged to return to campuses.

"UCU has argued that the default position for universities should be remote and online working, in line with other workplaces. That is what the Scottish government should be introducing today, not threatening students with red cards and banning them from going out. 

"Students have the same rights as any other member of the community and should not be treated as second-class citizens.”

Universities have also now agreed to introduce a “yellow card, red card” system for breaches of student discipline that put students and others at risk, which could result in an end to their studies.

Gerry McCormac, convener of Universities Scotland, 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 is 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.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “To all students – I’m so sorry Covid is making this special time of your lives so tough.

“But it won’t be forever and the more we get the virus back under control now, the sooner you’ll get a bit of normality back. So, please do what’s being asked of you.”