Dozens of students were filmed chanting "Covid wah?" at an illegal university rave just hours before a neighbouring campus went into lockdown.

Revellers at the University of Manchester were caught on Snapchat defying the Government's 'Rule of Six' and dancing outside halls of residence at the illegal party.

The clips, which were taken at 1am on Friday morning, show a huge gathering outside Owens Park halls in Fallowfield, south Manchester.

It came just hours before a whopping 1,700 students were placed into lockdown at the nearby Manchester Metropolitan University.

The students were told to self isolate for 14 days 'with immediate effect' after a surge in Covid cases.

Dozens of students were caught on Snapchat footage holding an illegal party outside the halls of residence

Case numbers have soared to 127 across that site and Cambridge Halls with other students also reporting symptoms.

As a result, Public Health England agreed with the university and Manchester City Council to introduce the lockdown measures.

David Regan, Public Health director for Manchester, said: “An important part of Manchester’s local response and prevention plan for coronavirus is to keep a close eye on the data and act swiftly and decisively where an outbreak is identified in order to contain the virus. That’s what we’ve done here.”

But others criticised the situation as the latest in a string of 'wholly predictable Covid outbreaks.'

Students hosting a party at Owens Park halls in Fallowfield, south Manchester, on September 25 2020

University and College Union general secretary Jo Grady said: "This is the latest catastrophe in a week where wholly predictable – and predicted – Covid outbreaks have caused havoc on campuses across the UK.

"We warned last month of the problems with moving thousands of students across the country and the time has come for urgent action from ministers and universities to protect staff and students.

"Manchester Metropolitan University shifting teaching online only for foundation and first year students exposes the total absurdity of the current position of trying to continue with blended learning.

"There is no point encouraging students to come to university to self-isolate for a fortnight. This was a wholly predictable and unnecessary crisis. It is unfair on students, on staff and on their local communities."

The clips, which were taken at around at 1am on Friday

The move follows growing concerns about how universities are going to operate safely against the backdrop of high and rising Covid infection rates.

Social gatherings of more than six people are currently banned in England under coronavirus laws.

Students should only socialise in their 'bubble' - the people they live with in their halls or houses - and should not mix with other groups.

The University of Manchester said it 'strongly condemns' the behaviour of its students after the illegal campus rave on Friday.

The university said details of the offending students from Friday's party would be recorded and a number of those captured in the footage will now go through a disciplinary process.

A University of Manchester statement said: “We are aware of this party and our security services worked with Greater Manchester Police to shut it down.

The University of Manchester condemned the behaviour

"This behaviour is totally unacceptable and the University strongly condemns it.

"We have been clear and consistent with our messaging around student conduct and behaviour in halls and we will be working hard to identify those involved.

“Our students must respect social distancing rules and all other restrictions to keep themselves and others safe.

"If students do not comply, they will face disciplinary action from the University, which could lead to fines or expulsion, and we will not hesitate to involve the police if necessary.

"Some students have already been issued with fixed penalty notices by
the police.

“Additional security officers have been deployed in Fallowfield and further reminders sent.

"Details of offending students are being recorded and a number of these will now go through our disciplinary process.”

Greater Manchester Police have been approached for comment.

The University of Manchester has warned that students could be made subject to a curfew following a 'significant' number of coronavirus breaches.

Bosses said 'active consideration' is now being given to the introduction of a curfew across halls, or other restrictive measures.

Earlier this week, four students in Fallowfield were fined by the police after organising an 'after the pub party'.

Some students have said they felt like they had been unfairly targeted throughout the coronavirus crisis so far

Each student was handed a £100 fixed penalty notice from officers for not adhering to social distancing guidelines.

And at Birley Halls, accommodation for Manchester Metropolitan University students, residents claim around 100 people were partying until the early hours of the morning last Monday and Tuesday night.

A GMP sergeant tweeted last week: "Shocked at the arrogance, ignorance & selfishness of some of the freshers in Manchester."

Some students however have said they felt 'on edge' and like they had been unfairly targeted throughout the coronavirus crisis so far.

One fresher said: "It's a bit weird. The first few weeks are about meeting people and obviously it's so hard to do that. Everyone is a bit on edge. "

It is understood the student outbreaks have helped to fuel the city's infection rate as a whole over the past couple of days.

On Tuesday the city recorded 161 new cases, with numbers now doubling week on week.

Cllr Bev Craig, from Manchester City Council, said: “This is obviously very difficult for all of the young people involved and we will be working with the university and other public services to make sure that any of the students affected get the support they need.

"Students are a vital part of our city, and as part of our plans we expected that numbers could rise as they returned to the city."