ALMOST 3,000 coronavirus cases have been associated with student accommodation since the summer, a new study has found.

Public Health Scotland (PHS) said there were 2,897 such cases between August 1 and the end of November. 

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said almost two thirds of the cases occurred in a three week period in late September and early October.

More than three quarters of the cases were in Edinburgh and Glasgow. 

Ms Sturgeon added: "In fact, a high proportion – around a quarter – were specifically in Pollock Halls in Edinburgh, and the Murano Halls in Glasgow."

Speaking during the Scottish Government's coronavirus briefing, she said the PHS report sets out lessons for the next semester.

These include the increased use of testing, staggered arrival times for students, and students reducing their social contacts both before and after travelling.

Ms Sturgeon added: "The report is a reminder – if any of us needed it though – of how hard all of us need to work to reduce the risk of the virus spreading in shared accommodation, and I continue to be grateful to all students who are having their education disrupted in ways that are not fair to them but unfortunately inevitable during a global pandemic. 

"But I am also grateful to universities and colleges for the efforts that everyone has made to help us curb transmission during this very difficult period. 

"The evidence being published today suggests that those efforts have made a real difference in the past two months and I am very grateful for them."

The report found social gatherings, particularly in halls of residence, were key factors in the initial student outbreaks. 

It said traditional halls of residence "do not appear to be suitable in a pandemic situation, due to the numbers of students self-isolating".