Coronavirus UK: Elderly to be isolated for four months as part of Covid-19 plans

Coronavirus UK: Elderly to be isolated for four months as part of Covid-19 plans
Coronavirus UK: Elderly to be isolated for four months as part of Covid-19 plans

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Britain’s elderly could be placed under quarantine for as long as four months under the government’s planned response to the coronavirus.

The plans to keep individuals over the age of 70, the group the most at risk from the novel coronavirus known as Covid-19, are one of a number of “wartime-style” measures being considered by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government.

British broadcaster ITV’s political editor Robert Peston has explained that isolation for the elderly had been raised along with other extraordinary plans to deal with the Covid-19 outbreak.

The forced requisitioning of hotels and other buildings as temporary hospitals and the requisitioning of private hospitals are also among the proposed moves.

The UK government has also called on manufacturers to bolster national production of ventilators as part of its preparations.

Number 10 said on Saturday that the prime minister was due to speak to manufacturers about supporting the production of essential medical kit.

Engineers had been asked to find ways to quickly produce more ventilators in Britain which the government would buy.

Germany and Italy have scrambled to get more ventilators, and manufacturers warned on Friday that hospitals everywhere faced a lack of equipment needed to treat coronavirus patients.

The Sunday Telegraph has said companies including Rolls-Royce had been asked by Johnson to transform their production lines to produce ventilators as part of a "national effort".

Mr Johnson’s government has been criticised for not taking more drastic steps in the face of the health emergency presented by the coronavirus. The UK approach to the virus has been conspicuously moderate compared with measures taken in other European countries.

Health authorities in England announced a further 10 coronavirus deaths, almost doubling since Friday, although the toll remains lower than in Italy, Spain and France.

The British government also plans next week to publish legislation giving it the powers to stop mass gatherings and compensate organisations.

On Friday, England's soccer Premier League suspended all matches until April 4 and the London Marathon was postponed.

Queen Elizabeth, who is 93, cancelled some public engagements for next week.

Mr Johnson postponed for a year local and mayoral elections in England that had been due to take place in May.

As of Saturday morning, 21 people had died after testing positive for Covid-19 in Britain.

"All 10 individuals were in the at-risk groups," Chris Whitty, chief medical officer for England, said in a statement.

By comparison, Italy said its death toll from Covid-19 rose to 1,441 and France reported an increase to 91.

Updated: March 15, 2020 04:53 AM

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