Vulnerable Brits face ‘months of shielding’ as Govt draws up new lockdown plans

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Hundreds of thousands of people may be forced to shield under new coronavirus lockdown plans.

The advice for clinically vulnerable people could come into effect along with new restrictions set to be announced next week.

Around 2.2 million considered “extremely vulnerable” were told not to leave home and avoid contact with others at the beginning of lockdown in England, a policy that was paused on August 1.

Jenny Harries, the deputy chief medical officer for England, has since been designing a “tailored shielding” scheme that comes with more personalised advice, The Times reports.

However, a decision has not yet been finalised.

There are also fears of the impact the measures could have on mental health.

Those shielding experienced higher levels of depression, loneliness and anxiety.

A government source told the newspaper: “The intention is not to bring back the same programme but to be more targeted in the measures and what you ask people to do.

“It is a big ask to lock people away to cocoon over what could be a long winter.”

People may instead to be told to take individual precautions, such as avoiding shopping at busy times.

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The source stressed that the shielding decision is “not 100%” and the government needed to be “careful on timing”.

It may be introduced along with a three-tier lockdown system on Monday, October 12.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to impose tougher curbs on pubs, cafes and restaurants in northern England – which may be shut altogether in Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle.

The UK yesterday recorded 17,540 new coronavirus cases, up by more than 3,000 from the day before.

A further 77 people died after testing positive for the virus within 28 days.

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The number of Covid-19 patients in hospitals in England rose to 3,044 from 2,944 on Wednesday, the highest figure since June 22.

Dr Yvonne Doyle, Medical Director for Public Health England, said: “We are seeing a definite and sustained increase in cases and admissions to hospital. The trend is clear, and it is very concerning.

“Numbers of deaths from Covid-19 are also rising so we must continue to act to reduce transmission of this virus.”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock added: “We are at a perilous moment in the course of this pandemic. In parts of the country, the situation is again, becoming very serious.

“Unfortunately, we are seeing hospitalisations of the over-60s rising sharply and the number of deaths from coronavirus also rising.”

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