Around 1,700 students in Manchester have been ordered to self-isolate after 127 of them tested positive for coronavirus.
Hundreds of students at the Birley campus and Cambridge Halls at Manchester Metropolitan University have been told to stay in their rooms for 14 days, even if they have no symptoms.
The rate of Covid-19 spread in Manchester was 185.6 per 100,000 people in the week up to September 22, when 1,026 positive tests were recorded, figures show.
This was almost twice the rate of the previous week when the infection rate was 93.2 per 100,000, with 515 cases.
The news comes after all students in Scotland were told to avoid pubs as part of efforts to prevent outbreaks in university campuses from spreading into the wider population.
Manchester Met first-year student Joe Barnes told BBC Breakfast: “It’s left morale at my flat pretty low to be fair because to put it into perspective we have just had what should have been our freshers’ week.
“We should have been going out making the most of it and now we are stuck inside for another two weeks after isolating for a week already because a couple of people in our flat have caught the virus. So we don’t see the end of it.
“For this two-week period we have had the announcement all our lessons will be online, so theoretically I could go home and study but for me that sort of defeats the point of coming to uni at all. I have not only just come for my studies, I have come to meet new people and enjoy the experience.”
The University and College Union has described the Manchester incident as “the latest catastrophe in a week where wholly predictable – and predicted – Covid outbreaks have caused havoc on campuses across the UK”.
General secretary Jo Grady said: “We warned last month of the problems with moving thousands of students across the country and the time has come for urgent...