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Bradshaw calls for clarity and publication of scientific advice concerning students’ return to university accommodation

Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has called on the Health Minister to clarify the advice concerning students returning to student accommodation in the Belfast City Council area.

Residents in the Holyland area of South Belfast in particular have said expressed concern, saying house parties and other anti-social behaviour is already taking place in the local community, and warning the forthcoming Freshers’ Week will only exacerbate matters.

“Last Thursday the Executive announced restrictions stopping people from two households congregating in a private home and also recommending no travel outside the new restricted areas, which included the entirely of the Belfast City Council area,” said South Belfast MLA Ms Bradshaw.

“This jars, however, with the idea students should be able to enter the restricted area and share accommodation with people from different households, before potentially returning home outside the restricted area at the weekend. Neither of those options is consistent with the regulations nor the guidance.

“There is no question the behaviour I saw this week when I visited the area and which was subsequently reported to me by residents in the Holyland is already clearly in breach of the regulations as they will come to apply. This raises serious issues of nuisance to local residents, but also serious issues around public health during this emergency.

“It needs therefore to be clarified how regulations which bar people from different households congregating in the same private residence will apply and be enforced, and what the scientific advice says about what measures are required to manage a return to study safely in restricted areas.”