Worried students feel trapped in Leicester as Covid cases rise

By Adam Rear

The second national lockdown in England began on November 5 in order to help stop the spread of the Coronavirus, but with cases still rising across the country, is it working here in Leicester?

University students all over the country were told not to travel home for the lockdown to prevent the spread of the disease, however many students wished they had.

Among those is De Monfort University language and speech therapy student Hannah Jowett, 20, who misses home and feels trapped in Leicester during this four-week long lockdown.

“I don’t think people understand how difficult it currently is for students during the pandemic, especially those living in student accommodation like myself,” said Hannah.

“I‘m fortunate enough to get along with my flatmates and have a comfortable living space but I still experience feelings of loneliness and being trapped.”

Hannah, 20, looking out of her window in Leicester

Cases across England have continued to rise despite the second national lockdown being in place, which could be an early indication that, as expected, the virus will become more prevalent in the winter months.

Leicester, which currently has 416.7 cases per 100,000 population, is an area much higher than the national average of 242.2.

When universities in England reopened at the end of September, staff and students, such as those at DMU and University of Leicester, have been contracting the virus.

Between September 14 and November 18, there had been 520 confirmed COVID-19 cases at DMU and 433 at UoL.

However, the rate of new cases reported at each of the two universities has fallen in recent weeks. In the week ending October 25, DMU recorded 132 new cases, but the weekly total since then has always been below 60.

“Personally, I’d much rather be at home with my family. I’d definitely be a lot happier and less anxious about the whole situation,” said Hannah.

“I don’t feel completely safe or supported right now – especially when students are getting a lot of blame for the spread of the coronavirus. We’re under a lot of pressure.”

Hospitals in the city are also seeing a surge of COVID-19 positive admissions. As of October 9, there were 15 hospital admissions compared to more than treble that amount in the week starting November 6 with 47 admissions.

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