STAFF AND STUDENTS at a Southampton university must wear face coverings with ‘immediate effect’.

Southampton University is ordering staff and students to wear masks in light of rising covid cases.

The new rule applies to anyone moving around the campus and taking part in taught and practical lectures.

However, people with medical grounds not to wear a covering are exempt.

In an email sent out by the university and seen by the Daily Echo, states “it is a critical moment for us to maintain our vigilance, and show care and respect for each other, to enable us to continue to enjoy the benefits of a full in-person campus experience.”

The university was previously “strongly encouraging and expecting” the wearing of face coverings.

But now they are “an explicit requirement”.

In the email, the university says that the wearing of a face covering “is about protecting others around you, just as others wearing a face covering are protecting you. It’s about acting together as a community to look after each other. We also have a number of students and staff in our community who are clinically vulnerable, and who have not achieved much, if any, immunity through COVID vaccinations”.

According to a spokesperson for Southampton University, the policy will be kept under review.

And will depend on the [covid rate] picture nationally and in the local area.

The number of coronavirus cases in Southampton increased by 159 in the last 24 hours, official figures show.

A total of 32,565 people had been confirmed as testing positive for Covid-19 in Southampton when the UK coronavirus daily dashboard was updated on October 26 (Tuesday), up from 32,406 on Monday.

The rate of infection in Southampton now stands at 12,878 cases per 100,000 people, lower than the England average of 13,310.

Across the UK, the number of recorded cases increased by 43,453 over the period, to 8,853,227.