STUDENTS should stay at university over Christmas to stop the spread of coronavirus, according to government scientists.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) fears people returning from university in December will spread the disease in their communities.

The concerns are mentioned in the latest published minutes from SAGE meetings, as revealed in the newspaper today. 

Read also: 30 new coronavirus cases at Oxford Brookes

It comes as several UK institutions report outbreaks, with Oxford Brookes University reporting 30 cases in the past seven days.

The spike has been linked back to student parties, while police patrolled South Park in East Oxford last night following reports of gatherings of up to 20 people.

Read also: Police patrol South Park to crack down on student parties

The SAGE minutes state there is a greater risk of larger outbreaks 'spilling over' from universities towards the end of the academic term.

“This could pose a risk to both local communities and families, and will require national oversight, monitoring and decision making,” scientists warned.

When asked if students may be told to stay on campus at Christmas if the situation deteriorates, health secretary Matt Hancock told BBC Breakfast 'we haven’t reached that point yet'.

But the cabinet member refused to rule it out, adding: “If you have the last nine months that I’ve had, you’d understand why we don’t rule out anything. It’s not something that I want to do."

The Oxford University term starts on Sunday, October 11 and ends on Saturday, December 5.

Brookes students were back in lectures and seminars on Monday, with the semester finishing on Saturday, December 19.