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Manchester University students have been throwing ‘Covid-positive’ parties at halls

Hmm…

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Vita Student / Flickr

Students at the University of Manchester have been hosting ‘Covid-positive’ parties, strictly for those who have had the virus. 

The normal requirements for a party might include booze, maybe some nibbles, potentially a dress code, but this party, hosted by a fresher at the University of Manchester, had a pretty weird entry requirement: Covid-19.

Hosted at the Fallowfield campus halls, the party – which required guests to have a positive test – was broken up by security on Saturday.

A student told the Guardian: “There was a flat party a few days ago which had a policy that you could only get in if you were positive. It was like their health-and-safety measure.” 

Manchester’s director of public health, David Regan, explained that the city’s 17-21 undergraduate age group now has an incident rate six times higher than the rest of Manchester, standing at 2,935 in every 100,000 people.

On Sunday, 1,041 University of Manchester students tested positive for the virus. Most of these students live in shared accommodation at university halls and are now finding themselves paying thousands to be kept in isolation.

Several other university cities in the UK have seen a flare-up in coronavirus cases since students arrived in September.

In Newcastle, more than 800 cases have been recorded across the two universities. Concerns have been raised regarding three deaths that tragically happened last week in the North East city due to drugs, and whether they would have happened if students could go to pubs and clubs. 

Chair of criminology at the University of Liverpool, Professor Fiona Measham, warned that such tragedies would happen when students returned to university. 

She explained: “Everyone was so busy with coronavirus and no one was thinking about what would happen when the students came back.

“There’s no nightclubs and pubs close at 10pm. Nightclubs are a semi-safe space, they have registered door staff and security, the bigger clubs often have paramedics, they have chill-out spaces. If you don’t have nightclubs open, you lose that safety net.”

Another student told the Guardian: “There are still messages in the group chat asking where the next party is”.

Adding: “Me and my flatmates walk by flats that have sticky notes on their windows displaying they have corona, like the red plague marks during the Black Death, and the silence from the uni is deafening.”

He further explained: “I’ve talked to a few people here [Nottingham] and they’re waiting for the lift and stuff and it’s all the same message, that the uni got us to come back just to take our money.” 

In Manchester, both universities have now cancelled all face to face teaching as of last Tuesday. 

Local MPs Jeff Smith and Afzal Khan said they have received fewer complaints about student parties than in a normal freshers week, however students say they are instead hosting ‘big flat parties’. 

One student said: “There are always invitations flying around on WhatsApp saying stuff like: ‘Come to flat 8, we’ve all got ’Rona.’ It’s hard to know how serious they are because I haven’t been, but some people do feel quite a lot of pressure to go out.

“There’s a massive amount of insecurity in freshers week, with everyone wanting to make friends. There’s a fear if you don’t go out you will be alone.”

A University of Manchester spokesperson said, in regards to the Covid-positive party: “The university is aware of this incident and we strongly condemn this irresponsible behaviour and conduct.

“We are investigating this as a matter of urgency and will deal with the students responsible via our internal disciplinary processes. The universities are meeting daily with Greater Manchester police and Manchester city council to review incidents and respond accordingly.

“The vast majority of our students are behaving responsibly, and we are supporting them if they are self-isolating. As a university we will continue to do all we can to keep our students, staff and the wider Manchester community safe.”

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Man arrested after mum pushing pram stabbed and killed in broad daylight

A man has been arrested on suspicion of murder

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West Yorkshire Police

Police have arrested a 25-year-old man wanted for the fatal stabbing of a woman while she was pushing her baby in a pram in Bradford.

Police have arrested a suspect, following the murder of Kulsuma Akter, 27. Akter was stabbed several times in the Westgate area of Bradford city centre on Saturday afternoon. 

The mother was rushed to hospital, where despite the best efforts of medics, she sadly succumbed to her injuries. Her baby was unharmed in the incident.

It has also emerged that suspect, Habibur Masum, was on bail for assaulting and threatening to kill her at the time of the attack.

West Yorkshire Police

Masum was conditionally bailed by Manchester Magistrates’ Court in November, despite prosecutors objecting to his release, it is understood.

Court documents show Masum, whose address was listed as Oldham, Greater Manchester, was charged with assaulting Ms Akter on November 23rd and threatening to kill her on November 24th.

Both incidents are alleged to have happened in Greater Manchester. Police had previously confirmed the couple were known to each other but have not confirmed their relationship. 

Masum attended a hearing on November, 27th 2023, where he pleaded not guilty to both offences and was ordered not to contact Ms Akter, it is understood.

West Yorkshire Police

His bail conditions also prevented him from contacting a second person, or visiting a particular address.

Greater Manchester Police has said it is supporting West Yorkshire Police with the ongoing murder investigation.

Both forces have referred themselves to the Independent Office for Police Conduct watchdog over previous contact with Masum and Ms Akter.

Detective Superintendent Jude Holmes, from GMP Oldham district, said: “We share the shock and concern that our communities feel in the wake of this tragic incident, and our thoughts are with Kulsuma Akter’s family at this truly distressing time.

“Habibur Masum is wanted by West Yorkshire Police on suspicion of murder. Due to his links to Greater Manchester, we have our specialist officers following several lines of enquiry to locate him.

“I urge members of the public to remain vigilant, and if you have any information on his whereabouts, call 999 as a matter of urgency.

“Due to previous police contact with Habibur Masum and Kulsuma Akter, Greater Manchester Police has made a referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.”

Police have arrested a 25-year-old man on suspicion of murder. A 23-year-old man was also arrested in Cheshire on suspicion of assisting an offender.

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Hunt for murder suspect after mum pushing pram killed in broad daylight

It is not clear whether is Masum is armed as police warn not to approach him

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West Yorkshire Police

Police are searching for a man from Oldham after a mum was stabbed to death in Bradford while pushing her baby in a pram.

Habibur Masum, 25, is wanted over the attack which took place in the Westgate area of Bradford at 3.21pm on Saturday (April 6th).

The victim, a 27-year-old woman, suffered multiple stab wounds and was taken to hospital where she sadly died of her injuries, West Yorkshire Police said.

West Yorkshire Police

The force also confirmed the baby was not harmed in the attack as the public is warned not to approach Masum.

It is understood Masum was known to the victim although police have not confirmed their relationship at this time. A knife was found at the scene but it is unclear if he is armed.

Masum was pictured on CCTV wearing a grey hooded, zip-up coat with three large horizontal lines of grey, white and black on it, grey tracksuit bottoms with a black logo and burgundy trainers. 

West Yorkshire Police

A witness also reported seeing him wearing a grey hoodie with the hood up shortly after the incident on Westgate, at the junction with Drewton Road.

Masum is from Oldham and is believed to have links to Burnley and Chester. He is described as an Asian man, of slim build.

Detective Chief Inspector Stacey Atkinson said: “We have had significant resources following up a number of lines of inquiry to locate Habibur Masum but at this time his whereabouts are unknown.

“I would urge anyone who does see him not to approach him but to call 999 immediately.”

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She said the death of such a young woman in the ‘most awful circumstances’ will ‘understandably cause concern in the local community’.

Detective Chief Inspector Atkinson Added: “I would like to reassure the wider public that we are working tirelessly to investigate this horrendous crime and bring the person responsible to justice.

“To help us with this we are urging anyone who was in the area who may have dashcam footage or seen or heard something, however small it may seem, to please come forward.

“A scene remains in place which includes some road closures and I thank the public for their patience while we conduct our enquiries.”

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Man arrested in murder investigation after human torso found in Salford nature reserve

A man in his 20s is being questioned by police

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A man has been arrested on suspicion of murder after a human torso was found wrapped in plastic in a nature reserve in Salford.

As detectives continue to investigate the discovery of human remains found by a passerby on Thursday, April 4th, a man in his 20s from Salford was taken into custody on Saturday evening for questioning, Greater Manchester Police say.

DNA testing is being carried out to determine the identity of the victim, who is believed to be a male ‘likely to be aged older than 40’ and ‘has only been deceased for a matter of days’, officers say.

@gmpolice / X

GMP says it is conducting a thorough search of the area by utilising local officers and specialist branches including search dogs and assistance from underwater search teams, to help comb the site.

The force says although it has ‘not found anything else that is of interest to the investigation’, ‘work will not stop’ until it is certain the area has been thoroughly searched.

Chief Superintendent Tony Creely, of GMP’s Salford district, said: “The arrest we made yesterday evening is an important step for our investigation, but we must keep an open mind and a big part of this is speaking to anyone who may have crucial information.

“As we continue to work in the area, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the public for their concern and cooperation so far, and we are mindful this is a disturbing incident for the local community, but I can assure you that since we were made aware, we’ve been pursuing every single line of enquiry to help us find out what has happened.

“I cannot stress the importance of people contacting us with information if they know anything at all. You may have information that you don’t feel is of importance, but it could be to us, please pass it on, it could be the key piece of information we need to progress this investigation.”

Anyone who thinks they may have witnessed something suspicious in the Kersal Dale area over the last few days is urged to call GMP on 101 and quoting log number 2695 of April, 4th 2024.

A dedicated portal for anyone to submit images or video footage which could help police can be found HERE.

 

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