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The waiting game

All over-60s should be isolating from coronavirus, say experts

The Government's cut-off at 70 years old for people who should not leave the house during the Covid-19 epidemic is placing 7.3m people in the UK at risk, according to experts.

Writing in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, Professor Azeem Majeed, head of the Department of Primary Care and Public Health at Imperial College London, said this cohort of people aged 60-69 are also at high risk of complications and death from Covid-19.

The paper, which Professor Majeed has co-authored with colleagues from Imperial College London and the University of Exeter, reached the conclusion on the basis of death rates from other countries.

It found that case fatality rates for those aged 60-69 are 3.5% in Italy and 3.6% in China, with countries including Switzerland and France recommending additional preventative measures for people aged over 65.

Professor Majeed said: 'The UK’s policy is at variance with the World Health Organization, which states that those above the age of 60 years are at the highest risk, requiring additional preventative measures.

'National and global spread of Covid-19 is accelerating. To reduce hospitalisations, intensive care admissions and death we recommend that those aged between 60 and 69 are particularly stringent when implementing public health measures such as social distancing and personal hygiene.'

The paper recommends that this group of people may make their own decision to isolate.

It said: 'In the absence of government guidance, people in this group can make their own informed decisions on how to minimise their risks of Covid-19 infection. This can include isolating themselves in a similar manner to that recommended by the UK Government for people aged 70 years and over.'

Readers' comments (10)

  • Locking people in their homes is not going to be sustainable for very much longer Prof.
    What other ideas do you have?

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  • Why exactly is it not sustainable asking people over 65 to stay home??

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  • Who's going to run the hot hubs & GP surgeries if we all have to stay in doors!!

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  • Errrr....people over 70 are not advised to shield and not leave the house. That's just for those in the shielding risk groups - which aren't defined by age at all.

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  • If GP practices have the letter templates, should we now issue them to all those over 60 years of age who have not yet had one??

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  • Whatever about lockdown for over 60's I would agree that NHS and Care staff over 60 years should not at this point have face to face contact with patients. Perhaps the BMA might like to issue guidance on this?

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  • Health workers in their fifties have been dying; redeploy all health workers over fifty away from face to face work? Especially BAME males.

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  • Waitrose say on their webshite:'clinically vulnerable people living in England and Wales, which the governments have shared with us" So how do my patients get on the list?

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  • I am 63. Should I be at work? I could retire but have to give 6 months notice to my partners. So NHS England - spell it out. What exactly should our cohort of doctors do?

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  • That's a lot of Doctors!

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