Millions could be told to stay home to avoid a second lockdown

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People between the ages of 50 and 70 could be assigned a personalized “risk score” and be asked to stay in their homes to avoid a second nationwide lockdown, it has been claimed. A senior government minister denied that the plan was “actively considered”, while sources in Number 10 told the Mirror the reports were “speculative”.

But reports from the Sunday Times and the Sunday Telegraph both say today the government may be on the verge of focusing its instructions on age.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson reportedly held a “war game” meeting with Chancellor Rishi Sunak on Wednesday to review possible options to avoid a full lockdown while imposing new restrictions that limit economic damage.

The Sunday Times says this could include assigning all people aged 50 to 70 a personalized risk score, which could lead to more than 2.2 million people already considered most vulnerable to stay at home. they.

Conservative Minister Robert Jenrick was keen to play down the reports today, but refused to rule out the move.

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“This is just speculation. You would expect the government to consider the whole range of options that could be available to us, ”he told Times Radio.

“It’s not something that is actively contemplated.

“We have a protection program, we have provided very clear advice to people who we have identified as being extremely vulnerable clinically and we have supported them and we will continue to support them, for example with the delivery of drugs if they need it.

“And if necessary in localized areas, for example in Leicester, we have extended the period in which we ask people to protect themselves who meet these characteristics.

Speculation over the government’s next move comes at the end of a week which has seen tighter restrictions take effect in Greater Manchester and other parts of the north.

The planned reopening of the bowling alleys this weekend was also postponed by Mr Johnson, who said he was not sure whether to reopen other businesses.

Despite increasing cases in parts of the country, new infections remain low in Devon and Cornwall.

No deaths have been reported by hospitals in the region since July 2 and the number of patients currently in hospitals in the Southwest has now fallen to 18, the lowest figure since the start of the pandemic.

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