Monday, 28 Sep 2020

Lockdown returns: Elderly could be told to self-isolate again as coronavirus spreads

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On Saturday an additional 3,497 COVID-19 cases were reported across the UK. This is the second day in a row that the number of new British infections recorded has been over 3,000.

A Whitehall source, speaking to the Sunday Telegraph, claimed extra advice could be sent out to those deemed vulnerable if the situation continues to deteriorate.

They said up to 4.5 million people could be told to remain at home or given detailed advice on how to prevent becoming infected.  

Those contacted would be people considered most at risk, based on factors like age, weight and underlying health issues.

COVID-19 has proven far more deadly to the elderly than younger members of the public.

According to the source the Government is hoping those deemed vulnerable can be advised to shield on a local basis.

However they added: “If the rate is so concerning across the whole of England, we are prepared to do it on a blanket basis.”

On Saturday Sir Mark Walport, the UK’s former chief scientific advisor, warned Britain is “on the edge of losing control” of the virus once again.

Contradicting the Government’s ‘back to the office’ message he urged those people who can work from home to continue doing so.

During the first coronavirus lockdown some two million people were instructed to remain at home until August 1.

In response to the increase in cases on Friday the Department of Health contacted care providers urging them to “take necessary action to prevent and limit outbreaks”.

Thousands died during the first lockdown in care homes which proved extra vulnerable to COVID-19 infections.

According to the Sunday Telegraph Boris Johnson had been considering advising all people over a certain age to remain at home if the outbreak intensifies.

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This would have allowed coronavirus to pass through the “non-vulnerable population” whilst minimalizing fatalities.

Instead the Prime Minister is said to support a more targeted approach based on a wider number of factors.

Under the plan those deemed in particular danger could be sent letters from Health Secreetary Matt Hancock and Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick.

These would explain the recipients “personal risk, and the risks of different activities, in order to help them manage individually”.

On Friday the Government said the coronavirus R rate for the UK is between one and 1.2.

The R rate refers to the average number of people each COVID-19 patient passes the infection on to.

It it’s over one it means the virus is spreading exponentially throughout the community.

Separately a study by Imperial College London suggested England’s R rate could be as high as 1.7.

Speaking to The Times Professor Paul Elliott, who ran the study, said: “What we are seeing is evidence of an epidemic in the community and not a result of increased testing capacity.

“This is a critical time and it’s vital that the public, our health system and policymakers are aware of the situation as we cannot afford complacency.”

 

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