More than 1,800 university students in North East tested positive in past week

More than 1,800 students at North East universities have tested positive for coronavirus in the past seven days.

The number of positive cases fell drastically at Northumbria University to 131 in the past week, down from 619 the previous week.

And at neighbouring Newcastle University, there were 749 positive cases in the week to Wednesday, a drop from 1,003 recorded the week before.

A spokesman said: “While our numbers are still high and we are not complacent, this is a drop from the previous seven days and a similar trend is being seen at other universities.”

But numbers were up at Durham University, at 958 for the past seven days to Wednesday, up from 219 for October 1-7.

Many Durham University students were understood to have returned to the city later than those at other universities, as teaching in Durham starts a week after.

A Durham University spokesman said: “Over the last seven days, the number of reported positive coronavirus cases in students and staff has been steady, with approximately 100-150 new reported cases each day.

“We are proactively and regularly monitoring and managing the situation with local and national public health experts and taking appropriate action where required.”

Meanwhile, it has invested £30,000 in patrols to make sure students are following coronavirus protocols.

The University Security Community Response Team has been set up to support Durham Police by engaging with students, explaining to them the current local and national restrictions, and encouraging them to observe these.

Latest figures released on Wednesday by Sunderland University showed just 13 new cases had been recorded in the past seven days.