Students at UK universities have shared photos of old food they were receiving inside the “world’s most expensive prison” as parts of the country locked down again in a second lockdown to stem the spread of COVID-19.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed on Monday a new three-tiered system for the country with regions of medium, high or very high risk.
Most areas are set to Medium, which means current restrictions continue, including a 10 pm curfew and a “base of six” meetings.
However, areas already subject to local restrictions will become “very high” and the northwestern city of Liverpool will be subject to the harshest phase of restrictions that will see bars, gyms and pubs close, with all travel restricted except for essential travel. Retail stores, schools and universities will remain open.
Johnson said the “grim math” of the rising number of cases made further action necessary.
“We must act to save lives,” he told Britain’s House of Commons of the plans that will go into effect on Wednesday after Tuesday’s vote.
“I think inaction would be unforgivable, so I hope that progress is made quickly.”
Johnson said he did not want to return to a full national lockdown pattern like the country the country witnessed in March, but he could not “let the virus rupture”.
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Students smoke for life in stone
The Johnson government was determined to return students to the classroom after the initial lockdown that caused many of them to be lost for up to six months out of school. However, the influx into university cities has seen a spike in cases with young people in particular leading to a spike in the numbers.
So far, more than 40 universities have recorded cases of students being forced to quarantine in apartments and halls of residence, relying on food packages and parent visits in what was supposed to be a time of free fun.
University of Edinburgh student Tess Bailey, 18, created an Instagram account called Prisoner Pollock, after her halls of residence, which she described as “the most expensive prison in the world.”
I paid more than A $ 12,700 (£ 7,050) to live in shared accommodation with 18 other people this year.
While her private unit has not yet been quarantined, she told news.com.au that all of her friends were exposed, in an atmosphere full of “tension”.
She shared photos of students receiving expired food, lockers infested with mice and people with nut allergies being handed out muesli bars with almonds.
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Ms. Bailey said she was “naturally anxious” about starting the university in the middle of the pandemic but “didn’t realize how bad it was.”
She said the general atmosphere on campus is “very censored” with “heavy penalties” for breaking the rules and “tension here I really didn’t expect.”
“We are treated more or less like rioting boarding school children and a little like prisoners. Sometimes we are treated like children and sometimes we are treated like adults.”
She also asked how much profit the university is making from students, saying that instead of receiving hot meals and a hybrid education, they are exposed to a “slow burn” of the virus that could see them in and out of isolation throughout the year.
“We use mobile bank accounts. The only reason they bought us here is to take our money. It was probably for herd immunity test. I’m sure they bought us here just for the purpose of taking our money. Everything about being here shows that they didn’t even try to get ready,” She said.
The University of Edinburgh has been contacted for comment. She has previously said that she works quickly to improve her systems and “ensuring the safety and well-being of our students remains our absolute top priority.”
“We have teams of employees working 24 hours a day to supply those in self-isolation in our residences that serve meals and self-service three meals a day – including takeaway meals – in line with their nutritional requirements and preferences. Basic on request BBC.
The United Kingdom is in the grip of the second wave
Speaking on Monday morning local time, the Medical Director of the British National Health Service (NHS) Professor Stephen Boyce said that Nightingale Hospitals in northern England will prepare to receive patients within the next few weeks.
Deputy Medical Director of England Jonathan Van Tam also warned that the country is now in a similar place to where it was in March with increased hospital admissions and “immune” deaths due to the high levels of positive cases.
Health authorities have issued clear warnings in recent weeks, as the UK is on track for a big second wave amid autumn weather forcing activities at home, as schools and universities return.
The UK government has been criticized for its vague and difficult to follow lockdown rules. Last week, there were orders to close bars and restaurants at 10 p.m., but photos and videos on social media simply showed people celebrating on the streets.
Before Monday’s announcement, a Downing Street spokesperson described the country as being at “a critical juncture and it is absolutely imperative that everyone follow the clear guidelines we have put in place to help contain the virus.”
British Chancellor Rishi Sunak said he will reintroduce a successful vacation plan to parts of the country where companies are forced to close over the coming winter months. Overall, the death toll in Britain from COVID-19 has exceeded 42,000 making it the highest in Europe.
Cases have risen by nearly 10,000 cases per day in recent days, but Professor Van Tam said this could not be compared to the situation in March where the limited capacity of the test meant that virus tests were largely being done in hospitals with the disease.