Over 70s and “at risk” face coronavirus shutdown for year in “traffic light” plan

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The elderly and vulnerable could be protected from the coronavirus for weeks longer than the rest of the population as part of government plans to facilitate the lockdown.

The most “at risk” groups of people must stay at home until a vaccine is successfully developed or so-called “collective immunity” is reached, which could take more than a year.

The ministers told the Mirror that it was inevitable that the over 70s and those with underlying health conditions should be protected the longest.

One minister told the Mirror, “This is one of the most difficult aspects. I know people don’t want to be the reason that grandma or grandpa gets sick. ”

But they admitted, “It will get more difficult over time. I doubt it can last too many months behind the others. “



Government’s “traffic light plan” to ease restrictions

However, another minister added that the public should get used to the idea, which means “you can’t see Granny for 18 months.”

The proposal was included in a “traffic light plan” allegedly drawn up by officials to restart the economy after the country closed during the epidemic to protect the NHS from collapse.

Cabinet Minister Michael Gove downplayed the strategy of gradually starting to loosen the lockdown within a few weeks.

He said it was “completely understandable” that people wanted to know when the lockdown could end, but it was still too early to tell.

“It is true that we are examining all the evidence, but we have defined certain tests that must be passed before thinking of relaxing the restrictions in this lockdown,” he added.

If the green, amber and red system is introduced, ministers could begin to take the first small steps towards lifting the lockdown around May 11.



Warm weather and joggers and cyclists make the most of the day as they head to Sale, Cheshire

This first “green” phase would include small non-essential stores, hairdressers and nurseries – although travel is always discouraged.

The “amber” phase could see small businesses and restaurants with strict seating rules.

Wearing a mask in public transport would also be mandatory in this phase, scheduled for late May.

The last “red” phase, scheduled for mid-June, would see cinemas, theaters and pubs reopen with certain restrictions.

Weddings and funerals could take place and gymnasiums could open with improved sanitation rules.

Ministers discuss how to start easing the restrictions, although they are concerned about blurring the message for the public that they should continue to stay at home.

An insider from Whitehall said, “It will be a slow path back. But just because we don’t talk about it doesn’t mean we don’t think about it. “

Education secretary Gavin Williamson has denied reports that schools are scheduled to reopen in three weeks.



Social distancing rules have been relaxed for some people (stock photo)
Social distancing rules would be relaxed at different times (stock photo)

It was said today that the government plans to open school doors in late May, early June and September.

“No decision has been made to reopen the schools. I can reassure schools and parents that they will not reopen until scientific advice indicates that this is the right time to do it, “he tweeted.

Williamson later said that key measures – such as lowering death rates – must be taken before schools can reopen for millions of students.

He said at press conference 10: “Of course, I want nothing more than to review the schools, to bring them back to normal. But I can’t give you a date. ”

He also ruled out that schools remain open during the summer holidays so that disadvantaged children have a chance to catch up before the next school year.

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The government’s chief scientific advisor, Jeremy Farrar, warned, “If we were to release these blockages too soon while infection rates are still high … then the epidemic would come back, it would come back very quickly. It would rebound in a few weeks or months. “

But ministers remain pressured by key figures – led by Labor leader Keir Starmer – to define how this would begin to ease the lockdown.

Sir Keir said: “We need a clear plan for the future.

“The lockout has been extended and I support it. But we must have clarification on what will happen next.

“Other countries have started to draw up a roadmap to lift restrictions in certain sectors of the economy and for certain services, in particular social services, when the time comes.

“Of course, this must be done in a thoughtful and thoughtful way with public health, scientific evidence and the safety of workers and families at its heart. But the British government should do the same. “

The deputy chief medical officer of health, Dr. Jenny Harries, has championed the country’s approach to managing the spread of the virus to the extent that government scientific advisers have been criticized.

She said at press conference 10: “We had and we still have a very clear plan – we had a confinement phase and it was very successful.

“We had very strict quarantine regimes in high-risk areas, we followed up on individual cases and families whenever possible.

“But once you end up with seeding and cases in the community, our goal should be to manage the clinical conditions of these people. “

But Professor Anthony Costello, former director of WHO, said, “I can’t believe what I hear at the press conference.

“The deputy director, Jenny Harries, still believes that the testing policy in the UK has been correct.

“And she doesn’t understand the links between tests and COVID mortality rates. Is this the policy of the CMO? If so, they should resign. “

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