Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Science & Tech
  2. Coronavirus
5 May 2020updated 06 Oct 2020 9:45am

Government may ask over 70s to decide whether they are vulnerable or not, minister says

By Samuel Horti

Healthy people over 70s will be treated differently to other elderly people in upcoming government guidance, according to a report.

The guidelines for over 70s has changed multiple times during the pandemic: initially, anyone over 70 was told to be “particularly stringent in following social distancing measures”. Later, fresh guidance said all over 70s were in the “clinically vulnerable” group, and should try to ensure minimal contact with others, but then Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that not every person over 70 was included in that group.

One minister told the Telegraph that the over 70s group “is going to morph”.

“There is a big difference between the 1.5 million ‘shielded’ people, known as extremely critically vulnerable, who have been sent a letter advising them to shield for 12 weeks, vulnerable people with pre-existing health conditions of any age, and healthy over 70s,” they said. “This needs to be made clearer – you can’t just have a blanket over 70s group. That’s unsustainable. It’s not a static group.”

Over 70s will “self-select” whether they are vulnerable or not going forward, they said. “The over 70s are a very sensible group – by and large, they know if they should be staying indoors or not.”

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.


Content from our partners
The shrinking road to net zero
The tree-planting misconception
Is your business ready for corporate climate reporting?