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Mass Covid-19 testing suggests way forward for universities


Cambridge analysis found little crossover in Covid-19 infections between students and local community

Evidence from a University of Cambridge mass testing programme suggests universities can stay open safely, but must take major steps to stop Covid-19 spreading among students.

At its peak in October 2020, the university’s mass asymptomatic Covid-19 screening programme tested around 10,000 students per week, detecting 671 cases. Free weekly asymptomatic screening for students in halls was complemented by testing of staff and students with symptoms of the virus. Both programmes used PCR tests—widely considered to give a more reliable result than lateral flow tests.

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