International students warned of new UK coronavirus risks

International students are told they should consider delaying their travel plans

epa08908971 A NHS notice warns of the speech that Coronavirus is spreading at University College Hospital in central London, Britain, 29 December 2020. Coronavirus cases are continuing to surge across England with hospital admissions reaching new highs. More Covid patients tare now being treated in England than during the first wave in April.  EPA/ANDY RAIN
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International students on courses in the UK are being advised to weigh the risks of travel into the country as its tries to tackle a highly contagious mutation of coronavirus.
Universities Minister Michelle Donelan sent an open letter on New Year's Eve to all students about precautions for the looming new term.
Term start dates were pushed back from January 4 to January 25 in some areas, while other courses, including medicines, are prioritised to still return on Monday.
Ms Donelan said the government has to "further restrict the number of courses that can return to in-person teaching as planned".

"Our advice for international students travelling from overseas for the spring term is to consider whether you, in fact, need to travel to the UK at this time, particularly if your course does not require you to be on campus from 4 January," she wrote.

"Those students should consider delaying their travel plans, if travel plans can be rearranged without undue costs."
"We have also asked universities to make provision to provide appropriate support and facilities to the following [including] international students who have remained in the UK and those who have arrived and do not have alternative accommodation," she added.
Students landing in the UK will need to fill out passenger locator forms and visitors not from safe-fly exemption countries will need to self-isolate on arrival.
British students have also been hit after Ms Donelan announced that most of them should not return until at least the end of January.
Cambridge University's vice-chancellor Stephen Toope said the delay was "potentially disruptive and difficult to students".
Universities UK, which represents the sector, said Ms Donelan's announcement "would understandably raise further issues and uncertainty – for students, universities and staff".

Further guidance was expected from the government next week.