Durham University has confirmed a small number of Covid-19 cases in its student community.

The university said Public Health England had been informed and those affected were following NHS advice and self-isolating, with university support.

As thousands of students arrived in the city for Freshers Week, further restrictions were imposed across areas of the North-East, including Durham, in an attempt to tackle the increase number of cases of Covid-19.

The university also piloting an out-of-hours University Security Community Response Team, available from 8.30pm to 4.30am, seven nights a week, to support the police with student engagement, education and encouragement around Covid-19 legislation and the local restrictions.

The Response Team will be dispatched by the police, so residents can report Covid-19 legislation breaches by calling 101 or through the Durham Police website.

The university confirmed that if students commit Covid-19 breaches, they could also face action under the university’s disciplinary procedure, which carries expulsion as its ultimate penalty.

Jeremy Cook, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Colleges and Student Experience) at Durham University, said: “We are very pleased to be welcoming, or welcoming back, our students to Durham, and we are all part of the Durham community and we all have a part to play in keeping each other safe. By working together, we are confident that we can look forward to a safe and successful year ahead.”

University leaders continue to work with Durham County Council and other agencies on planning for how the pandemic might develop.

It has published an Outbreak Response Plan, which has been approved by the council and the Department for Education, and is hosting a Mobile Testing Unit at Howlands Park and Ride, which is for both university and community use.