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02 August 2020 16:33

Over 50s lockdown

London lockdown: M25 could become 'border point' and millions of over-50s told to shield under 'nuclear' plans to avoid second lockdown

Downing Street is reportedly considering restricting travel beyond the M25 and telling millions of over-fifties to stay at home under "nuclear plans" to avoid a second national lockdown. As coronavirus infections rates rise across the country, Boris Johnson is said to be weighing up a radical set of measures to prevent a total shut down of the economy. If the R-rate spikes in London, overnight stays could be banned and people told not to travel in and out of the capital, the Sunday Times reported. Other potential measures include "personalised risk scores" for people aged between 50 and 70, adding to the 2.2 million people who were previously asked to take part in the shielding program. The shielding advice was only lifted on Saturday for those in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and remains in place until August 16 for those shielding in Wales.

But 24 hours earlier Mr Johnson was forced to announce a slow down of the lockdown easing, with planned relaxations for the leisure and beauty sectors delayed after a rise in Covid-19 cases was recorded. On Wednesday Mr Johnson reportedly held a "war game" session with Chancellor Rishi Sunak to run through possible options for averting another nationwide lockdown. A No 10 source told the Sunday Times: "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." Get our daily coronavirus email newsletter with all the news you need to know direct to your inbox Sign up Thank you for subscribing We have more newsletters Show me See our privacy notice Invalid Email Millions of people over 50 could be told to stay at home to prevent another full nationwide lockdown, it is claimed. Ministers anxious about a coronavirus second wave are reportedly considering giving people aged between 50 and 70 a personalised risk rating advising them whether to shield. Tory minister Robert Jenrick today insisted the idea was not being "actively considered" and said it was "speculation".

But Mr Jenrick also refused to rule it out in future, saying: "You would expect the government to be considering all of the range of options that might be available to us." Yesterday restrictions which told 2.2million vulnerable people to remain at home - 'shield' -during the spring peak of Covid-19 were lifted in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The end of shielding went ahead in spite of Boris Johnson putting the brakes on further easing of lockdown rules, as new data suggests the number of new Covid-19 cases in England is rising again. Under the proposals, a greater number of people would be asked to shield, based on their age or particular risk factors that have been identified since March, the Sunday Telegraph says. It could even see those aged between 50 and 70 given "personalised risk ratings", said the Sunday Times - a move that would add to the 2.2 million who were deemed most vulnerable and previously told to remain at home. The Sunday Times reported the Conservative Party leader held a "war game" session with Chancellor Rishi Sunak on Wednesday to run through possible options for averting another nationwide lockdown that could stall any potential economic recovery.

Tory minister Robert Jenrick appeared to play down the possibility of age-related restrictions, but did not rule them out completely. People in Luton and Blackburn with Darwen have been told shielding should continue to August 17. But people in Greater Manchester and parts of Lancashire and West Yorkshire have been told shielding is over - despite new restrictions there banning two households from meeting indoors. Over-50s could face stay-at-home orders in second wave of coronavirus Those aged between 50 and 70 could be given 'personalised risk ratings' under reported plans to avoid a second national lockdown Millions of people over-50 could have to stay at home under "nuclear" plans being drawn up by Downing Street to avert a second national lockdown, according to reports. Boris Johnson was forced to roll back on the planned lockdown easing last week for bowling alleys, skate rinks, casinos, indoor performances and beauty sectors after coronavirus cases rose for the first time since May. The Prime Minister, who likened a second national lockdown to a "nuclear deterrent" that should be avoided at all costs, held a "war game" session with officials on Wednesday to find other ways to tackle a potential second spike, The Sunday Times reports.

The measures being considered are thought to include a ramping up of the shielding programme, stay-at-home orders for Londoners, and scrapping all "air bridges" with foreign countries to re-impose 14-days' quarantine. The shielding programme could even see those aged between 50 and 70 given "personalised risk ratings", the Sunday Times reported, in a move that would add to the 2.2 million deemed most vulnerable and asked to shield themselves from society during the spring peak. The advice was only lifted on Saturday for those in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and remains in place until August 16 for those shielding in Wales. Under the fresh proposals, a greater number of people would be asked to take part in the shielding programme, based on their age or particular risk factors that have been identified since March, according to The Telegraph. It comes days after lockdown curbs were tightened for 4.5 million people in Greater Manchester, east Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire as Covid-19 infections surged.

Other ideas reportedly mooted should the R-rate increase in the capital include restricting travel beyond the M25 and putting a stop to staying at other people's houses – similar to the Leicester, Blackburn and Darwen and wider north-west lockdown – a ban on close-contact services such as hairdressers, and an end to the "bubble" system allowing separate households to reunite. When asked if the new age-related shielding measures were likely, he told Times Radio: "You would expect the Government to be considering all of the range of options that might be available. Mr Jenrick, asked on Sunday morning whether the Government would look to close pubs in such an event, said: "We don't have any plans to do that." It has been reported that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is considering putting over 50s under shielding measures, should cases of coronavirus spike again. The Times have reported that Boris has had talks with Chancellor Rishi Sunak, in order to discuss how they may avoid another national lockdown, if Covid-19 cases continue to rise. Amongst the conditional measures allegedly discussed, is the idea that a larger number of people may be asked to shield if an outbreak occurs. People in this age group would be given a 'personalised risk rating' based on their age and general health, and could be asked to shield at home under these potential new measures. Other measures reportedly discussed include restricting travel beyond the M25, and putting a stop to staying over at other people's homes – similar to the restrictions recently imposed in parts of the North of England. Shielding for vulnerable people was only lifted for those living in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland on Saturday 1st August, and remains in place for residents in Wales until 16th August. The news comes after the Prime Minister delivered a daily briefing to the nation on Friday, revealing that he has to 'put the brakes' on any further lifting of lockdown restrictions for the time being. He announced that with coronavirus cases, 'creeping up' in some areas of the UK, venues like bowling alleys and casinos could not open on 1st August as originally planned – nor could close-contact beauty services such as eyebrow threading resume on that date. Boris' announcement was also made soon after Matt Hancock revealed that parts of the North had been placed under a local lockdown, forbidding visits inside the home and in private gardens in Greater Manchester, parts of West Yorkshire, and East Lancashire. A city-wide lockdown of London, "shielding" for the over-50s and stricter quarantines for people arriving at ports and airports are among "nuclear" options being considered by the government in a bid to prevent a second wave of coronavirus. Prime Minister Boris Johnson was forced to "apply the brakes" to his programme of lockdown-easing measures on Friday, but he is said to be keen to avoid a second full national lockdown. Brits aged between 50 and 70 would given "personalised risk ratings", according to the Times, adding many of us to the list of 2.2 million vulnerable people asked to shield themselves during the first peak of the outbreak. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the UK government was "prepared to take action, sometimes quite quickly" in order to prevent a second wave of Covid-19 making a new lockdown unavoidable. Mr Hancock was criticised over the weekend after bringing in new lockdown restrictions for Greater Manchester, parts of East Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire late on Friday evening.

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