Health secretary Matt Hancock has revealed over 70s could be asked to self-isolate for up to four months in a bid to tackle the spread of coronavirus.
Speaking on Ridge on Sunday on Sky News this morning Mr Hancock said the Covid-19 outbreak will ‘disrupt the lives of almost everybody’ in the UK and branded the disease a ‘very significant challenge’.
He then revealed those over the age of 70 are expected to be asked to self-isolate in the coming weeks for their ‘self-protection’.
It comes after the number of positive coronavirus cases in the United Kingdom hit 1,140 yesterday with 21 people confirmed to have died of the virus. There have been four positive reports in Staffordshire and one in Cheshire East.
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.”
Pressed on when the measure will be introduced, he said: “Certainly in the coming weeks, absolutely.”
Mr Hancock said a Bill setting out emergency powers to deal with the coronavirus outbreak will be published on Thursday.
Asked what the emergency powers will include, Mr Hancock said they would be shared on Tuesday: “Yes, we’re going to set out the emergency powers on Tuesday and publish the Bill on Thursday.”
Mr Hancock added that he has been talking to Labour’s shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth about what the emergency powers cover.
He said: “This is a cross-party approach. He’s made some suggestions of other things that should be in there which we’ve included. And it includes a broad range of actions, all about preparing Britain, making sure that we’re ready, should we need to be.”