A MOBILE coronavirus testing unit was located at Bournemouth University this week – and it is set to return in the coming weeks to increase testing capacity for the region.

Dorset public health officials had confirmed the mobile unit, which visits towns across the county, would also now stop in Wallisdown although the exact location was not disclosed.

However, providing an update to Bournemouth University (BU) staff and students on Friday, October 23, the educational institution's chief operating officer Jim Andrews confirmed the mobile unit had been sited one of the car parks on the Talbot Campus in recent days.

"This facility will be returning over the coming weeks to provide further testing capacity for the region," said Mr Andrews.

"While this facility is not a university facility, I am pleased we have been able to work with our local partners to get a facility for the community to use, and I am sure we will make use of it too."

As reported, a new facility is also due to open in the Lansdowne later this month in addition to the long-running site at Creekmoor.

BU is now releasing weekly updates on the number of students and staff who have tested positive for coronavirus.

In the seven days up to October 23, the number of new positive cases among the university stood at 38 across the whole BU community of 1,723 staff and 16,606 students. These cases are included in, not in addition to, the figures reported on the government's data portal and Public Health Dorset's statistics.

A BU spokesperson said: "This figure is the number of new cases reported to us, regardless of location, with some members of the BU community working and studying outside the BCP area.

"These cases are distributed throughout the university and there is no significant outbreak in any particular course, hall of residence or other part of the institution. We have a clearly defined process for managing all cases and for supporting staff and students who may need to self-isolate.

"Due to the blended learning approach for teaching, which we have adopted this semester, very few positive cases have been linked to our campuses, but the rare isolated incidences where someone has been on site have been thoroughly followed up in terms of test & trace and cleaning."

In his update to staff and students, Mr Andrews provided information on what work was taking place with regards to the rest of the academic year.

"Work is underway to plan the timetable for semesters two and three," he said. "While we will have to respond to any change in current government and public health rules, we expect that we will continue to deliver a mixed blend of face-to-face and online learning in the new year.

"We will follow up with specific details of what semester two will look like for your course as soon as these details are confirmed."

He added: "May I also remind you to keep following the rules in place for our safety.

"We have had to email a number of students this week to remind them again of the rules in place following some breaches. I know this is incredibly tough, and you will want to meet people and socialise, but please do so within the rules that are in place for our safety, meeting in groups of no more than six, wearing face coverings and practicing good hygiene.

"With Halloween taking place at the end of next week, please refrain from engaging in gatherings that break these rules.

"We are seeing across the country that students are being fined for breaking these rules and we do not want any of you to be in this position. Please remember that the government rules in place are not just guidelines, but the law."