‘Matt Hancock today confirmed the government will tell the elderly to stay at home for up to four months as he admitted the NHS does not currently have enough ventilators for the fight against coronavirus.
The Health Secretary said people over the age of 70 will be told to self-isolate even if they do not have symptoms in a bid to stem the spread of the disease and protect the most vulnerable in society as the number of UK deaths hit 35.
He said ‘we don’t want to do that too soon because clearly it is not an easy thing for people to do, it is not an easy thing for people to sustain’ but he said he expected the stay-at-home advice to be issued ‘certainly in the coming weeks absolutely’.
The move will raise major questions about what the government will do to ensure elderly people are not left without food and medicine.
Meanwhile, the government has issued a ‘call to arms’ to non-healthcare manufacturers in the UK to ask them to step in and build vital ventilators for the NHS.
Mr Hancock said the health service currently has an estimated 5,000 of the machines but it will need ‘many times more than that’ because they are the ‘big thing’ needed in the treatment of coronavirus.
The Health Secretary said ‘it is not possible to produce too many’ as he promised the government will buy all those which are made.
However, he refused to guarantee that everyone who needs a ventilator will have access to one as he said ‘we don’t make guarantees in healthcare’ but he vowed to do ‘everything we possibly can to protect life’.’