Universities supporting the national effort against Covid-19

On 20 March 2020 Universities UK (UUK) noted that almost 5,500 Year 3 student nurses from 35 UK universities have opted to join NHS frontline staff. Other examples of support noted by UUK include the University of Cambridge leading a £20 million UK government project, supported by a larger group of universities, to help understand and control Covid-19; scientists at King’s College London developing a prototype for a ventilator that will be quickly available; final-year medical students at universities have been allowed to graduate early to support the frontline effort, offering volunteer services to doctors, nurses and healthcare workers; and researchers at Brunel University London, Lancaster University and the University of Surrey have developed a device to detect Covid-19 in 30 minutes using a smartphone application.

Additionally, tens of universities have contributed protective equipment to hospitals across the UK, while several institutions continue to produce hundreds of litres of hand sanitiser every day, offer laboratories for testing purposes and accommodation to NHS frontline workers. Medical students have also set up initiatives to support NHS staff, offering babysitting, pet care, picking up medicine and grocery shipping services, and are volunteering at the NHS Nightingale Hospital. Universities are also offering psychological support to staff and students and exploring the societal impact of the virus with the aim to make coping with the outbreak easier for everyone.

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