An alarming escalation of 35 confirmed COVID-19 cases among students who were participating in a teacher training program at UCL University College of Odense in central Denmark, resulted in 1,072 students being sent home, the UCL said on Thursday.

One of Denmark's largest regional educational institutions, UCL in Odense lies 168 km west of the capital city of Copenhagen. It has just over 11,000 students and 1,000 employees.

The students "must stay at home until they have been tested and found infection-free," said the UCL statement.

In addition, the university has decided to "switch to online teaching to minimize the risk of the infection spreading further on campus."

The infections are being linked to close contacts between students during team-building exercises in their introductory week.

In an interview with Danish news channel TV2, UCL Rector Jens Mejer Pedersen took responsibility for the organization of the exercises, referring to them as "unsuitable."

A mobile test center was also set up on campus on Thursday morning for testing students, the statement said.

According to figures updated by the Statens Serum Institute (SSI) on Thursday, 179 new COVID-19 cases had been registered in the last 24 hours across the country, the highest since April 22.

To date, Denmark has reported a total of 17,374 confirmed COVID-19 cases and a death toll of 626.