BORIS Johnson has told Britain’s over 70s they have to self-isolate for 12 weeks because of the coronavirus.
In the first of what will now be daily press conferences, the Prime Minister said the “most vulnerable” must stay home for up to four months to stop them getting the virus.
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It comes as the number of UK deaths reached 37 deaths and around 1500 cases.
He said: “This avoiding all social contact is especially important for the over 70, pregnant women and those with health conditions.
“Those with the most serious conditions are largely shielded from social contact for around 12 weeks.
“It is now clear that the peak of the epidemic is coming faster in some parts of the country than others.
“People over 70 might feel there is something excessive about these measures.
“I believe they are overwhelmingly worth it to slow the spread of the disease reduce the peak save life minimise suffering and give our NHS the chance to cope.”
Mr Shapps, the Transport Secretary, earlier told Radio 4’s Today programme that they would not be completely housebound, saying: “We will ask people to do that as and when the moment is right.
“As I said to my mum, it is the case that people will be able to go out and walk your dog.
“It’s about being sensible without going and mixing in crowds.”
It’s just one of several measures the Government are looking at implementing to try and tackle the spread, as countries across the world go into lockdown.
Mr Shapps said that the British public would have to “come together and protect the vulnerable” for what could be an extended period of time indoors.
The news is different for people who are ill at the moment, who are being told not to leave their homes under any circumstances.
Chief medical officer Chris Whitty and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance are concerned that some elderly people could die at home from neglect if the quarantine is enforced too soon.
The plans are set to come into force in Britain in the next few weeks.
Boris Johnson and health secretary Mr Hancock are hoping that neighbours and loved ones will check in on OAPs to make sure they are ok.
A source said: “We are looking for a huge community effort.”
The number of cases could DOUBLE every five or six weeks if Britain didn’t take “draconian” action now, he warned the country, in the most drastic action taken so far to tackle the disease.
“We are asking people to do something difficult and that will disrupt their lives,” Boris admitted.
But he stressed that the most vulnerable were the focus of today’s new measures.
The PM announced major crackdown rules today including:
- Urging Brits not to go to pubs, clubs or other social venues to try and stop spreading it around
- Whole families with symptoms such as a cough or a temperature should stay at home for TWO WEEKS to stop spreading it on to anyone else
They should not go out of the house – even to buy food or essentials. Exercise is allowed, but only at a safe distance.
Food delivery companies Uber and Deliveroo could be drafted in to bring food to society’s most vulnerable during the lockdown.
Meanwhile, shoppers are stripping supermarket shelves of essential items like toilet paper and dried pasta in a bid to stockpile goods.
Supermarkets have begged irresponsible panic buyers to leave enough for everyone, as Brits faced long queues at stops yesterday.
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