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Around 50 students from the Royal College of Music are reportedly self-isolating (PA)


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50 students are said to be self-isolating at university accommodation in west London following a “small cluster of confirmed cases of Covid-19”, it has been confirmed.

The outbreak has been linked to the privately-run Prince Consort Village halls in Hammersmith, which is run by Campus Living Villages in partnership with the Royal College of Music.

A spokesperson for the Royal College of Music said that the halls were not in lockdown, but confirmed that a number of students at the accommodation were self-isolating.

They said: “We currently have a small cluster of confirmed cases of Covid-19 at our halls of residence and these individuals, and those who share their facilities, are self-isolating while being fully supported by staff. 

“We have worked with Public Health England and the Council on measures to ensure quick and effective containment and contact tracing.”

“We are continuing to monitor the situation, keeping our students and staff informed as appropriate, and following all UK Government guidance.”

The news marks what is understood to be the first confirmed outbreak of coronavirus among university students in London, with 45 universities across the UK also reporting cases.

It comes as official figures show coronavirus cases are rising in every London borough, making fresh restrictions in the capital increasingly likely. 

View our interactive map which shows some of the confirmed university outbreaks so far: 

 

Across London, in the week to September 25 there were 2,865 new confirmed cases, up from 1,906 the previous week, and 2,305 a week earlier.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has warned that the capital is at a “very serious tipping point” and is calling on ministers to bring in “immediate action” to slow the spead.

Commenting on the latest student outbreak, Cllr Stephen Cowan, Leader of the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham, said: “This is the type of event that we’ve been planning for all summer. 

“Our team is fully engaged with everyone affected and doing our best to ensure the infection does not spread. It’s absolutely important that people socially distance, wear a face mask, wash hands and carry hand sanitiser – that’s how we’ll avoid a full second lockdown.”

Over 3,000 students are believed to be self-isolating across the UK due to outbreaks of coronavirus at various universities.

Up to 1,700 of those in isolation are students at Manchester Metropolitan University, where 127 cases have been reported.

The University of Glasgow is currently the worst affected institution, with 172 confirmed cases and 600 students self-isolating.

Outbreaks have also been confirmed at other Scottish universities in Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee.

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Tony Chung: Hong Kong activist detained near US embassy charged

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Hong Kong teen activist Tony Chung has been charged under a new national security law, just days after he was detained outside the US consulate.

Mr Chung, 19, had reportedly planned to enter the consulate and claim asylum.

The activist faces the possibility of life in prison if found guilty of secession, conspiracy to publish seditious content and money laundering.

Mr Chung, the second person to be charged under the law, was denied bail by the court.

The controversial law was imposed by China on Hong Kong in June, making it easier to punish protesters and reducing the city’s autonomy.

What do we know about his detention?

According to the South China Morning Post, Mr Chung was detained on Tuesday morning at a coffee shop opposite the US consulate.

UK-based activist group Friends of Hong Kong said he had planned to enter and claim asylum. Instead, footage taken from near the consulate showed him being carried away by plain-clothes police.

Mr Chung, who was a former member of pro-independence group Studentlocalism, said activists had not given up fighting.

“At the right moment, we will come out to protest again,” he told BBC Chinese in a recent interview.

“Yes we lose at this moment. But the road to democracy is always long.”

He will remain in custody until his next court appearance on 7 January next year.

What is Hong Kong’s new security law?

Hong Kong’s national security law was imposed by Beijing in June after months of huge pro-democracy protests last year against an extradition bill.

The new law makes secession, subversion of the central government, terrorism or collusion with foreign forces punishable by up to life in prison.

In July, several were arrested under the new powers, including a man carrying a “Hong Kong Independence” flag.

  • China’s new law: Why is Hong Kong worried?

  • UK makes citizenship offer to Hong Kong residents

The law gives Beijing extensive powers it has never had before to shape life in the territory.

Critics say it effectively puts an end to the freedoms guaranteed by Beijing for 50 years after British rule ended in Hong Kong in 1997, but China says it will return stability to the city.

After the passing of the security law, the UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he would offer up to three million Hong Kong residents a chance to settle in the UK and ultimately apply for citizenship.

China has condemned this, saying it would take countermeasures against the UK should it grant residency to Hong Kong residents.

Related Topics

  • Hong Kong national security law

  • China
  • Hong Kong

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AOC: ‘I don’t know if I’m really going to be staying in the House forever’

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President Donald Trump has taken particular pleasure in warning that Ocasio-Cortez poses a threat to Schumer, while describing prominent Democratic leaders including presidential nominee Joe Biden as beholden to her more liberal agenda.

Ocasio-Cortez is also viewed as one of the likeliest inheritors of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ progressive coalition if she were to run for president. The congresswoman, who endorsed Sanders in the 2020 White House race, turned 31 earlier this month and would meet the constitutional presidential age requirement of 35 by November 2024.

Another possibility is Ocasio-Cortez joining a potential Biden administration in some capacity. She was tapped in May to serve as a co-chair of the Biden-Sanders joint task force on climate change — one of six working groups meant to advise the Biden campaign on policy.

But Ocasio-Cortez told Vanity Fair she did not “want to aspire to a quote-unquote higher position just for the sake of that title or just for the sake of having a different or higher position.”

“I truly make an assessment to see if I can be more effective,” she said. “And so, you know, I don’t know if I could necessarily be more effective in an administration, but, for me that’s always what the question comes down to.”



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Covid: Macron promises solidarity for new French lockdown

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Schools and universities will remain open and officer workers will stay home as President Emmanuel Macron places France into lockdown for the whole of November.

There will also be mandatory rapid Covid-19 testing for all international arrivals at the country’s ports and airports to ensure the virus is not brought in from other territories.

The president announced the new measures in a national address, pledging solidarity with French citizens adding “we will all get there together”.

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