People over 70 will be instructed to stay in strict isolation at home or in care homes for four months – even if they don’t have coronavirus symptoms – in an effort by the British government to protect them.
The new rule, likely to be enforced within the next 20 days, is part of a series of measures being prepared by the prime minister, health secretary, chief medical officer and chief scientific adviser to prevent the health service from “falling over” and to save lives as the coronavirus becomes an epidemic in the UK.
The drastic ‘war-time-style’ measure is part of a wider package of emergency powers due to be announced by Downing Street, which includes giving police the power to detain suspected virus victims
RT reports: Isolating the elderly is “clearly in the action plan” Health Secretary Matt Hancock has told Sky News, confirming earlier reports in the British media. “We will be setting it out with more detail when it’s the right time to do,” he added, which may come within weeks.
“We absolutely appreciate that it is a very big ask of the elderly and the vulnerable, and it’s for their own self-protection,” Hancock told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge.
Earlier ITV’s political editor Robert Peston said the British government was likely to enforce a “wartime-style” mobilization effort and other emergency measures, including isolation of elderly people.
Britain has 1,140 confirmed cases of the Covid-19 disease, with the death toll standing at 21. Elderly people have shown to be more vulnerable to the virus, as they are more likely to develop serious symptoms.
The British government has been criticized for its response to the coronavirus epidemic, which seems to be focused on building up “herd immunity,” rather than restraining the spread of the virus.
The plan to have elderly people isolated for months is a testament to the toll that the Tory governments’ measures had on the NHS. It also subjects them to increased risks of depression and other problems, some critics say.