POLICE dispersed “numerous” groups at Edinburgh University’s main halls of residence last night as students were asked to follow extra restrictions over the weekend.

Amid several coronavirus outbreaks at institutions across the country, universities pledged to make it “absolutely clear” to students that they should not hold parties or socialise with people not within their own accommodation.

There are more than 1000 students self-isolating across Scotland, with cases identified in accommodation in Glasgow, Dundee, Aberdeen and Edinburgh.

Officers last night dispersed several groups gathered at Edinburgh’s Pollock Halls of Residence, where about 1900 students are housed.

READ MORE: Pubs ban is not to stigmatise or blame Scotland's students, minister says

The BBC reported that at least one block has now been put into “lockdown” after a positive coronavirus case was confirmed.

Police said they were called to the halls after “informants” raised concerns that parties were breaching regulations.

Insp David Hughes said: "Police Scotland attended and we've spoken to a number of the parties and dispersed those individuals. [Officers] provided education and advice as to what is and what isn't in line with current regulations.

"From a police perspective, we've been relatively well received there. We have had some people who were unhappy with the regulations - but more the laws that are in force currently rather than the police response.”

He said the force had broken up a number of small parties consisting of between five and seven students, with people “clearly not from the same household”.

The officer said that no arrests were made and no fines were issued. He added that “you can understand their frustrations in relation to the current regulations but overall the reason that that's there is to protect the health of the United Kingdom”.

Following the incidents, one first-year student living in the halls said: "There's always police here now. It feels like we're being watched 24-7 which is a bit scary.

"My friend's in Holland House and she said that the whole of the Holland House blocks had been locked down and there's been people patrolling to make sure that no-one's leaving."

Other students said many were choosing to go back to their parents’ rather than self-isolate in the halls. Laws in Scotland currently forbid this because their halls accommodation counts as a new household.

Students have also been told to avoid visiting pubs this weekend – but the National Union of Students Scotland has called this guidance “unjustified” and “deeply concerning”.

The First Minister yesterday insisted the weekend’s measures are not designed to place blame with students, saying: “It’s not their fault, it’s nobody’s fault Covid is nobody’s fault.

“But we all have to play our parts and try to get it under control.”

She reminded university bosses of their “big responsibility” to students who are self-isolating in halls of residence.