UNIVERSITY students in Wales should not be subject to stricter anti-coronavirus restrictions than their counterparts elsewhere in the UK, Wales' education minister says said.

Speaking at today's Welsh Government press conference, Kirsty Williams urged students to follow the public health rules but said it would be "unfair" to "build a narrative that students in some way are not taking this pandemic seriously".

The minister was asked about reports of mass gatherings in student areas in Cardiff, as well as reports of coronavirus cases linked to a house party in Swansea.

"The vast majority of students, studying here in Wales, want to do the right thing and want to follow the rules," Ms Williams said. "There will be a small minority that will ignore the rules – just as there is a small minority of people, who are not students, that unfortunately... have decided the rules don't apply to them.


"It's unfair to paint students into a narrative that is different from some of the challenges of communicating with the wider population."

The education minister said "house parties shouldn't be happening" among students and other citizens, but said the Welsh Government was not considering additional measures for students.

"I don't believe that would be fair," she said.

Ms Williams acknowledged fears that students in Wales and the rest of the UK may be asked to stay on campus over the Christmas holidays, and said the Welsh Government would "leave no stone give students the chance to get home for Christmas".

"That's my priority as the education minister and as a mum," Ms Williams added, having earlier told the press conference her own daughter had started university studies this month.

Turning to containment of Covid-19 in universities, Ms Williams said she could not rule out entire halls of residences being asked to self-isolate – but universities had been advised to stop students meeting up in large numbers as a way to avoid such measures being necessary.

Each positive case in a university would be subject to normal contact-tracing measures, she added, and only a person's "close contacts" would be asked to self-isolate.

The minister also said walk-in testing centres would be set up on some campuses for students unable to drive to existing test sites.