PEOPLE aged 50 and over could be ordered to stay at home under new rules the government is believed to be considering to combat coronavirus.
London might be sealed off if cases soar, with the M25 ring road used as a ‘border’, in another ‘nuclear option’ aimed at avoiding the need for a new full national lockdown.
Ministers hope that local and regional measures to contain outbreaks will be enough to prevent a second wave after the number of new cases rose for three weeks in a row.
However, if the strategy fails, all over-50s could be given a ‘personalised risk assessment’ in September or October. Depending on the outcome, they could then be required to shield themselves at home, as 2million of Britain’s most vulnerable people were required to do under lockdown measures that were lifted only on Saturday.
Housing secretary Robert Jenrick (pictured) downplayed the reports yesterday but acknowledged on Times Radio: ‘You would expect the government to be considering all the range of options that might be available.’
The official UK virus death toll rose by eight yesterday to 46,201.
And there were a further 744 new cases diagnosed after the highest daily total for a month — 846 — was reported on Thursday.
About 4.5million residents of Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and east Lancashire have been ordered not to meet members of other households indoors after a sharp rise in infections.
And ministers have been ‘war-gaming’ several scenarios, including what to do if a steady increase of cases in global transport hub London becomes a severe spike. In that situation, everyone arriving in Britain from abroad could be made to quarantine for 14 days, according to The Sunday Times.
As well as facing a travel ban, Londoners could be barred from staying in each other’s homes overnight, with enhanced nationwide restrictions imposed to limit mixing of households.
A rota system would be needed for pupils when secondary schools reopen in September, instead of the full-time return ministers are currently planning for.
The new rules for over-50s would come into play if cases slowly rose across the whole country.