NUMBER 10 has reportedly dropped plans to target those over 50 in a new lockdown, with the government urged to impose new measures on young people.
Downing Street questioned whether new protection restrictions should be placed on millions of people over 50 in the event of a second wave.
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Ministers have now put the plans aside following a backlash after Boris Johnson was urged not to pursue such an “aged” and “poorly thought out” plan, reports The Telegraph.
Downing Street halted the program after officials deemed it impractical, difficult to enforce, fearing it would dampen economic recovery and could be seen as a mixed message.
In a bid to avoid another national lockdown, Britons aged 50 to 70 could have received personalized risk assessments for the coronavirus.
The move would have added to the 2.2 million people who protected during the peak of the virus, the Sunday Times reported.
Ministers canned the system as one of them said, “Even if you could figure out the practicalities, how would you do it? “.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock previously dismissed the reports of the 50+ plan as “inaccurate” and “speculative” while speaking on Sky News.
However, the Prime Minister has been urged to crack down on young people breaking the rules after a hot weekend which saw beaches and bars wrapped in a 37.8C burner.
Joan Bakewell, a former government adviser, told the Daily Mail ministers must tackle young people flouting restrictions before targeting the older generation.
She said: “Certainly the elderly have to be careful – I took great care of that myself – but what is happening is that the young don’t distance themselves and don’t wear masks. Young people need to pull themselves together.
“Young people assume it’s over and don’t distance themselves as they should.
“They know they should, they’ve been told they should, but they can’t be bothered.
“This is the crucial point. “
Former Conservative Minister Ros Altmann also told the newspaper that asking over 50s to self-isolate would be “dangerous and wrong”.
She said: “What we’re talking about here is a group in society that is potentially chosen for different treatment because of their age.
“It’s not that those over 50 are somehow old and therefore at risk and those under 50 are young and therefore not at risk. ”
Labor peer Lord Foulkes added that the policy would be “ageist and ill-considered”, and noted that “the over 50s are the key to our economy”.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has sought to play down the proposals, denying that they are “actively being considered”, but insisted the government is examining all available options.
Fears are growing over a second wave hitting the UK as the Prime Minister has slowed down plans to lift further lockdowns amid rising numbers in Europe.
Local lockdowns are also being rolled out, with 4.5 million Britons in Greater Manchester, East Lancashire and West Yorkshire seeing restrictions reintroduced after a surge in infection.
Photos of popular tourist spots over the weekend show many people gathering outside bars and pubs and not in social distancing.
Bettors have also spread to the streets of central London in warmer weather – as pubs keep strict capacity rules inside.
Brighton and Hove council has even been forced to warn sun seekers not to visit the tourist hotspot over the weekend due to overcrowding fears.
Cornwall Deputy Head of Council Adam Paynter also attacked holidaymakers arriving in droves from other parts of the country, saying residents feared it could spark a new wave of infections in the area.
He criticized tourists who refused to wear masks, telling LBC they were “pretty ignorant in thinking the coronavirus doesn’t exist here.”
Mr Johnson insisted the UK was taking ‘all reasonable steps’ to prepare for an increase in virus cases – some measures to ease the lockdown have been slowed down.
The Prime Minister said he was “pressing the brake pedal” after the number of cases in the UK started to rise – with 938 confirmed cases on Monday, the biggest increase in 38 days.
He had been keen to try and get back to normal as shops and pubs reopened as people were urged to return to work after a three-month lockdown first introduced in March.
The UK’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, has meanwhile warned of a “risk” of a new lockout needed for the winter.
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Mr Johnson is also reportedly considering bursting the ‘bubble’ system that allows separate households to come together under one roof.
Science advisers have warned that too much mixing between family groups is the main cause of an alarming increase in infections.
The prime minister treats a second lockdown as “nuclear deterrence” and has made it clear he wants to avoid having to shut the country down again.
A No 10 source said: ‘Another national lockdown is like our nuclear deterrent – we will never rule it out, but it should be the very last resort in the fight against Covid. “