Britain’s over-70s will be told to self-isolate for four months even if they don’t have coronavirus symptoms, in a ‘wartime-style’ clampdown by the government.
Briefings received by ITV’s political editor Robert Peston, and reported in the Mirror, suggest that people over 70 will be instructed to keep themselves in strict isolation.
It’s part of what he called a “war-time style” effort to combat the virus which will start properly in the next five to 20 days.
A senior government source also told ITV that the idea the government don’t want to take costly decisions to tackle the virus is untrue after some criticised the Prime Minister for not instigating widespread shutdowns similar to those in other European countries.
Instead it is believed chief medical officer Chris Whitty and the chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance are waiting to pick the right moment to introduce the most disruptive measures.
They added: “Everything is aimed at making sure the NHS is not overwhelmed, to save lives and to prevent hideous choices having to be made.”
The source said the government is concerned that some older people could die at home from neglect, after they are quarantined, so want to start the self-isolation as late as possible.
It’s expected to be within the next five to 20 days.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and health secretary Matt Hancock are relying on neighbours and friends to rally round to make sure no one is neglected.
Dominic Cummings, the Prime Minister’s adviser, Dominic Cummings, is also in talks with Uber and Deliveroo about taking food to the old and vulnerable when they are put into forced isolation.
The news come as 10 more people in the UK have died after being diagnosed with coronavirus.
This brings the total number of deaths to 21.
Professor Witty said the patients were all in “at risk” groups, with 1,140 people now testing positive for the virus.
This is a rise of 342 from yesterday’s total.