Published: 13:53, 28 June 2021
| Updated: 20:11, 28 June 2021
The University of Kent has recorded its biggest-ever Covid outbreak on campus, after more than 60 students tested positive for the illness in just one week.
New figures released by the institution, which has bases in both Canterbury and Medway, reveal dozens of young people contracted coronavirus in the last seven days, taking its total number of cases since September to 531.
The shocking stats show 61 students living on-campus were diagnosed with the illness in the past week, while nine more residing off-campus were found to have the disease.
And a spokesman has confirmed the majority of the positive tests were detected in the cathedral city.
A University of Kent spokesman said: "Over the weekend we saw a fast-emerging rise in reported cases of Covid-19 among students at our Canterbury campus, after a number of weeks of low case numbers.
"As a precautionary measure we have cancelled all non-essential student on-campus activity a week earlier than planned to ensure we are doing all we can to keep our students, staff and visitors safe.
"Our focus will now be on supporting those who are isolating and doing all we can to help students on campus who were due to leave at the start of July to return home as soon as possible, once they have obtained a negative Covid-19 test result and it is safe to do so."
The data also shows six members of staff have contracted the illness since June 21.
It brings the total to 76 - more than five times the 13 cases recorded the week before.
The next highest seven-day total at the uni was on November 16 last year, when 59 students and staff tested positive.
Following the outbreak this week, several members of Herne Bay Hockey Club - which played against two of the university's women's sides last Monday - have been told to self-isolate.
An email sent to players said: "We have been notified that the University of Kent have had a high number of players test positive for Covid-19.
University of Kent reports largest record of positive coronavirus tests
"Anyone who was involved in hockey last Monday, June 21, or was in the clubhouse that evening is therefore advised to book a test and self-isolate."
Meanwhile, five people attending Canterbury Christ Church University have tested positive for coronavirus between June 21 and 28.
This comes as Public Health England numbers show diagnoses have risen by 150% across the Canterbury district in the seven days to June 22.
The rate among those aged between 20 and 24 now stands at 404 cases per 100,000 people - the highest in that age group since January 14 during the winter lockdown.
The biggest increases in cases have been in Blean Forest, Chartham Hatch & University, St Stephen's and Canterbury Central & Westgate - all with rates above 200.
But in Chatham Central, where the Medway campus is based, there were five cases in the same period.
Despite the recent rise in Canterbury, there has not been a Covid patient in east Kent's hospitals since June 9 and there have been no deaths with the virus in the district since April 3.