| 8°C Belfast

Over-70s to be asked to self-isolate as UK coronavirus death toll increases


Action plan: Matt Hancock

Action plan: Matt Hancock

Action plan: Matt Hancock

The UK's coronavirus death toll rose to 35 yesterday as it was revealed the Government will ask elderly people to self-isolate for up to four months.

The Department of Health said 14 more patients had died in England after testing positive for Covid-19. This follows the 10 deaths announced on Saturday.

A total of 34 people have died from the virus in England, while there has been one death in Scotland. NHS England said the patients whose deaths were announced yesterday were aged between 59 and 94 and they had underlying health conditions.

There had been a total of 1,372 positive tests for coronavirus in the UK as of 9am on Sunday, up from 1,140 at the same time on Saturday, the DoH said.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said people aged over-70 will be asked in the coming weeks to self-isolate for up to four months in order to protect them from the virus.

Asked if that timeframe 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 added: "The measures that we're taking, the measures that we're looking at taking, are very, very significant and they will disrupt the ordinary lives of almost everybody in the country in order to tackle this virus."

He also confirmed that ministers were seeking to give police powers to arrest and forcibly quarantine people who are sick with the virus but are not self-isolating.

"I doubt that actually we will need to use it much, because people have been very responsible," he added.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will personally urge manufacturers to shift their production lines to build ventilators amid concerns that critical care facilities will come under intense pressure as the Covid-19 crisis intensifies.

Meanwhile, the US government imposed a travel ban on the UK and Ireland in response to the pandemic, with restrictions effective as of 4am GMT on Tuesday.

Belfast Telegraph