A report presented to the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), has outlined how the most vulnerable in society could be offered “accommodation outside the home” if a member of their household is infected with the killer virus. The proposal would be aimed at high-risk individuals who live in crowded properties where self-isolation is difficult.
The reports adds it could “decrease the number of deaths and hospital admissions if applied to high risk households containing clinically vulnerable people”.
Professor Robert West, from the Government’s behavioural science advisory group, who helped to write the report, explained the scheme would have been voluntary and was looked into by ministers.
Professor West, from University College London, said the proposal could have worked as many hotels were left vacant during the height of the first wave of the pandemic, but explained things have now changed.
He said: “It’s something that was being looked at, and could be looked at.
“There would have to be quite a high threshold and it would of course be voluntary.
“At a certain point in the peak of the pandemic and during the lockdown there were a lot of hotels sitting empty.
“So in a way, in those sort of situations it might be more feasible.
“But the situation now is very different.”
It comes as it emerged the Government also considered an age-based lockdown with those over 45-years-old told to stay at home.
The proposal, which is understood to remain under review, was put forward in July and would involve the segmentation – or shielding of tens of millions of Britons.
The plan tabled by advisers was initially dropped due to the scale of the lockdown, as two-thirds of all households in the UK have a person aged 45 or above.
A transcript from a SAGE meeting on July 23 read: “Although under-45s are at less risk from COVID-19, including lower risk of death, they are nonetheless at some risk and long-time sequelae (consequences) are not well understood.
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On Saturday NHS England confirmed a further 42 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England.
The total number of hospital deaths since the start of the pandemic now stands at 30,138.