When will over-70s have to reduce social contact? Latest advice for elderly people in Leeds during coronavirus pandemic

There are 3,269 confirmed cases of coronavirus and the government are taking measures to protect those most vulnerable to the disease.

By Rebecca Marano
Friday, 20th March 2020, 11:46 am
Updated Friday, 20th March 2020, 1:37 pm

The government is advising people who are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus (Covid-19) to follow social distancing measures.

This group includes people aged 70 and older, regardless of if they have any medical conditions.

It also includes people with underlying health conditions and pregnant women.

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Shoppers queue outside a Sainsbury's supermarket during 'elderly only' hours. Photo: Getty

Will elderly people in Leeds and Yorkshire have to self-isolate?

At the moment, the government's position is that it "strongly advises" people over 70 to self-isolate.

It is down to each individual to decide whether to follow that guidance.

The government has not introduced measures to enforce over 70s into self-isolation.

However, Boris Johnson said in his speech on Tuesday, March 17 that those aged 70 and above may have to self-isolate for 12 weeks starting from this weekend.

The Prime Minister said: "In a few days’ time – by this coming weekend – it will be necessary to go further and to ensure that those with the most serious health conditions are largely shielded from social contact for around 12 weeks.

"This avoiding all social contact is especially important for the over 70, pregnant women and those with health conditions.

"People over 70 might feel there is something excessive about these measures.

"I believe they are overwhelmingly worth it to slow the spread of the disease reduce the peak save life minimise suffering and give our NHS the chance to cope."

What measures should the over 70s take?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that self isolation is currently “the most effective way” of preventing the potentially deadly virus from spreading.

Those aged 70 and over are urged to remain in the home and avoid public areas, except if they need to receive medical care.

People are advised to ask for help if they require any shopping or medications, and should call ahead before visiting a doctor.

It is also advised that those who are self isolating should separate themselves from others in their home if possible, and stay in a well-ventilated room with a window to the outside that can be opened.

The elderly are more at risk of coronavirus due to having a weaker immune system, meaning their bodies are less able to fight the virus off.