Search

Over-70s to be asked to self-isolate for up to four months

PUBLISHED: 13:05 15 March 2020 | UPDATED: 13:29 15 March 2020

The Health Secretary has said the over-70s could be urged to self-isolate for four months. Picture: Getty

The Health Secretary has said the over-70s could be urged to self-isolate for four months. Picture: Getty

Getty

Elderly people will be asked to self-isolate for up to four months, as the UK escalates its fight against coronavirus.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock (right) explains NHS plans for coronavirus on the Andrew Marr show. Picture: Jeff Overs/BBC/PAHealth Secretary Matt Hancock (right) explains NHS plans for coronavirus on the Andrew Marr show. Picture: Jeff Overs/BBC/PA

West Suffolk MP and health secretary Matt Hancock said it is a 'very big ask', but it is a measure which is for their own 'self-protection'.

He also confirmed that ministers were seeking to give police powers to arrest and forcibly quarantine people who are sick with the virus but are not self-isolating.

'We are going to take the powers to make sure that we can quarantine people if they are a risk to public health, yes, and that's important,' he told the Andrew Marr Show on the BBC.

'I doubt that actually we will need to use it much, because people have been very responsible.'

Undated handout photo of Department of Health advert being launched to combat the spread of coronavirus. Picture: PA PhotoUndated handout photo of Department of Health advert being launched to combat the spread of coronavirus. Picture: PA Photo

MORE: 'We are well prepared': Norfolk public health director moves to reassure over coronavirus cases

In an acknowledgement of the almost wartime measures being introduced, Mr Hancock said the steps are 'very, very significant and they will disrupt the ordinary lives of almost everybody in the country'.

The gearing up of the Government's efforts comes as the UK's Covid-19 death toll rose on Saturday from 11 to 21, while the number of people testing positive for the disease passed the 1,000 mark.

The number of coronavirus cases has risen again today. Picture: Ben Birchall/PA WireThe number of coronavirus cases has risen again today. Picture: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

Mr Hancock said that people aged over 70 will be asked in the coming weeks to self-isolate for up to four months, in order to protect them from the virus.

Asked if that was in the Government's plan, he told Sky's Sophy Ridge On Sunday: 'That is in the action plan, yes, and we will be setting it out with more detail when it is the right time to do so, because we absolutely appreciate that it is a very big ask of the elderly and the vulnerable, and it's for their own self-protection.'

MORE: What are the coronavirus symptoms and should I self-isolate?

Pressed on when the measure will be introduced, he said: 'Certainly in the coming weeks, absolutely.'

He said coronavirus is 'a very significant challenge' that will 'disrupt the lives of almost everybody' in the UK.

'The measures that we're taking, the measures that we're looking at taking, are very, very significant and they will disrupt the ordinary lives of almost everybody in the country in order to tackle this virus,' he said.

- For updates on how coronavirus is affecting Norfolk, please visit our Facebook page here

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years, through good times and bad. Coronavirus is one of the greatest challenges our community has ever faced, but if we all play our part we will defeat it. We're here to serve as your advocate and trusted source of local information.

In these testing times, your support is more important than ever. Thank you.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Eastern Daily Press