Aged individuals and others thought of to have an elevated threat from Covid-19 may very well be requested to remain at dwelling underneath radical plans being drawn as much as avert a second nationwide lockdown, the Telegraph can disclose.
Boris Johnson has requested officers to organize a collection of doable measures that might assist keep away from shutting down the economic system for a second time, after he mentioned that he wished to keep away from one other lockdown.
The choices embody a programme of “enhanced” or “differential” shielding, as a part of which susceptible individuals could be requested to stay at dwelling whereas the remainder of the inhabitants continued to maneuver round freely. One proposal is for the shielded group to be allotted particular instances of the week to have unique entry to some companies and outlets.
The potential measures additionally embody imposing a city-wide lockdown on London if an infection charges spike within the capital and tightening quarantine restrictions on these flying into the UK.
A fourth measure contains “more durable” native lockdowns than the restrictions imposed on elements of Better Manchester, east Lancashire and West Yorkshire, the place individuals from completely different households had been barred from assembly indoors.
The disclosure comes after the Prime Minister introduced that he was suspending the deliberate easing of lockdown measures attributable to happen this weekend amid heightened issues a few doable second wave of infections.
Final month Mr Johnson informed the Telegraph that the choice of a second nationwide lockdown was now akin to a “nuclear deterrent”, saying he “actually” doesn’t need one other blanket shutdown, “and nor do I feel we shall be in that place once more”.
Chatting with the Telegraph, Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, who helps lead the World Well being Organisation’s pandemic response crew, urges international locations to not reimpose nationwide lockdowns in an try and stem the unfold of Covid-19 because of the well being, social and financial repercussions.
In the meantime, the Telegraph discloses warnings by authorities advisers that hairdressers and barbers may very well be inadvertently transmitting Covid-19 to their clients because of “insufficient” official steerage stipulating that they need to put on visors moderately than masks.
Officers from the Cupboard Workplace’s Covid-19 unit are understood to have instructed an enhanced shielding programme as a part of a collection of doable options to a nationwide lockdown.
Mr Johnson has now sanctioned the crew to develop the choices into formal coverage proposals.
A senior Whitehall supply mentioned: “We’re hopeful that quick motion, regional lockdowns and quarantines will cease the necessity for any extra substantive motion. Nevertheless we put together for all situations, and officers are presently drawing up an array of coverage choices to current to the Prime Minister.”
Greater than two million individuals in England, Scotland and Northern Eire who confronted the very best threat of being hospitalised by Covid-19 has been requested to defend of their houses till Saturday, to keep away from contracting the virus. In Wales, the recommendation stays in place till August 16.
Beneath the proposals, a larger variety of individuals could be requested to participate within the shielding programme, primarily based on their age or specific threat elements which were recognized since March.
Authorities analysis has discovered that, amongst individuals already recognized with Covid-19, individuals aged 80 or older had been 70 instances extra more likely to die than these underneath 40. Officers have additionally acknowledged that individuals with diabetes, coronary heart illness and dementia all look like at greater threat of loss of life.
A Authorities supply mentioned: “The shielding checklist was binary, you are both on it otherwise you’re not. Now we all know extra, we may be extra refined about it.”
Any proposal to ask individuals to stay of their houses on the premise of their age could be more likely to immediate a big backlash. Lord Sumption, the previous Supreme Court docket choose, has acknowledged that shielding the outdated and susceptible till a profitable vaccine is developed would quantity to “a merciless mockery of primary human values”.
An possibility believed to be underneath dialogue as a part of the proposed scheme is encouraging “shielding afternoons” or “shielding hours” for essentially the most susceptible to entry outlets and companies with out fearing that they may come into contact with those that have been freely shifting round. The choice comes after supermarkets launched precedence buying hours for the aged and susceptible firstly of the nationwide lockdown in March.
Scientists have additionally instructed that such a programme would require “very intensive screening” of care dwelling workers, hospital medics, and members of a shielded particular person’s family, to make sure that these coming into contact with them are unlikely to transmit the virus.
An early proposal for enhanced shielding was set out in a paper by College of Edinburgh scientists in April.
They acknowledged: “If Covid-19 was circulating solely within the non-vulnerable inhabitants then the NHS may simply deal with the degrees of delicate illness, some hospitalisations and occasional important care. Numbers of deaths could be low.
“Due to this fact, if we may drastically cut back the incidence of an infection within the susceptible group the epidemic may very well be manageable. Shielding is meant to cut back the incidence; to do extra we’d like ‘enhanced shielding.”
Another choice into consideration is to stop Londoners from travelling outdoors of the M25 within the occasion of a significant spike within the capital. Quarantine measures for travellers touchdown within the UK may be elevated, on the premise that the primary wave within the nation started after a big variety of instances had been imported from overseas.
The Authorities can also be regarded as contemplating implementing a nationwide ban on individuals from completely different households assembly indoors, within the occasion that official figures present a continued rise of infections throughout the nation, and check and hint figures recommend that such social contact is partly accountable.
Final week Lord Sumption referred to as for the inhabitants to be allowed to make “our personal private threat assessments within the mild of our age and state of well being and the form of actions during which we interact.”
Writing in The Telegraph, he acknowledged: “For some individuals, social distancing will stay a smart precaution. The remainder of us ought to respect their selection however drop it and get on with our lives. We can not maintain working away.”