Pensioners could be urged to stay home from NEXT WEEK to stop coronavirus as families told to visit relatives now – The Sun

PENSIONERS could be urged to stay home from NEXT WEEK to stop them from being infected with coronavirus as families are told to visit their elderly relatives now.

'Social distancing' policies could see the elderly warned to go into lockdown, sports events cancelled and schools closed in drastic measures to delay the spread of the deadly bug.

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It comes after two people in the UK died of coronavirus this week, including an 88-year-old man and a woman in her 70s.

The woman, who had "underlying health conditions", was diagnosed on Wednesday before passing away on Thursday at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading.

On Friday, the elderly man died at Milton Keynes hospital after having recently returned from a cruise that saw him visit a number of countries.

Meanwhile, more than 160 people have tested positive for the bug in the UK, with fears the crisis is now slipping into the "delay" phase.

And Science minister Amanda Solloway told The Daily Telegraph Brits should check in with elderly friends and members of the community amid fears they could be feeling isolated and 'cut off' from others.

Ministers are now said to be in talks about providing the elderly and vulnerable supplies to ensure they are supported if they are advised to go into lockdown.

Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty this week warned it was important to protect older people from coronavirus but added "the difficulty is we need to make sure we do that without isolating them from society".

He warned against "exacerbating loneliness, providing barriers to social interactions and practical things like shopping and people coming in to help them."

And the CMO had warned the country is now sliding from "containing" the virus into the "delay" phase of the PM's battle plan – to push it back as far as possible.

It’s understood that when Britain officially enters the delay phase, it will mean that an epidemic is inevitable.

The delay phase could also mean encouraging people to work from home and cancelling large scale gatherings like concerts and sports matches.


It comes as supermarkets plan to ration stock as part of plans to stop shoppers emptying shelves by panic buying goods during the coronavirus outbreak.

Shortages of hand soap, disinfectants, baby wipes and cupboard staples like pasta and rice have already been spotted at supermarkets including Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury's and Morrisons.

The government's chief scientific adviser confirmed a coronavirus outbreak has started in Britain in a terrifying sign the deadly bug is now out of control.

Sir Patrick Vallance, 59, warned the killer disease is now exploding around the country and is easily passing from person to person.

Up until now most cases were in clusters around people who had travelled back to the UK from aboard.

However, now – with the rate of cases rocketing – the outbreak from person to person in communities has taken hold.

The Department of Health confirmed the bug is spreading at its fastest rate yet as a total of 47 people tested positive in the last 24 hours.

Dr Richard Hatchett, who heads up the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, said the government needs to adopt an 'aggressive' response to tackle the virus.

He said: "This is the most frightening disease I've ever encountered in my career, and that includes Ebola, it includes MERS and it includes SARS.

'I think the most concerning thing about this virus is the combination of infectiousness and the ability to cause severe disease or death."

More than 20,000 people have now been tested for coronavirus in the UK.

Two British Airways baggage handlers working at Heathrow Airport are among the new positive tests, sparking fears over how many items of luggage they handled while carrying the virus.

Meanwhile, a child at Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool has tested positive for coronavirus, one of at least three children in the UK to have become infected with the deadly bug.

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