Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) could “overwhelm” the NHS, according to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has introduced a raft of new measures for the UK amid the growing health crisis. As part of the increased initiative against the virus, the Government has warned millions of people to “shield” themselves in a bid to reduce pressure on the NHS.
Who needs to “shield” themselves from COVID-19?
COVID-19 has debuted as a health risk for billions of people worldwide, but certain groups are in danger of complication if they contract the virus.
The Government announced today it would order 1.5 million British people in the at-risk group to “shield” themselves from the virus.
Those who fall into these specific categories will be contacted by the NHS at some point next week.
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According to Gov.uk, people suffering from the following conditions will need to quarantine themselves against COVID-19:
- Serious conditions, including transplant patients and cancer sufferers
- Respiratory diseases
- Chronic heart disease
- Liver disease
- Neurological diseases
- Weakened immune system
- People who have recently had or are currently undergoing chemotherapy
The NHS has also urged people who are pregnant or over the age of 70 to stay home where possible.
The Government said people who fall into the at-risk categories would receive communication from their GP practice or specialist on how best to isolate themselves.
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said the new measures would protect the most vulnerable of society and help prevent an overwhelming caseload from engulfing the NHS.
He said: “Public safety and making sure that those most at risk from the virus continue to get the support they need throughout this period is the Government’s top priority.
“People should stay at home, protect our NHS and save lives.”
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“This will be an especially worrying time for those with serious underlying health conditions and that is why we are urgently acting to ensure extremely vulnerable individuals are taking extra steps to shield themselves, and that the essential items they need are supplied to them.
“We will ensure that vulnerable and older people in our society are left in no doubt of their importance to us and our determination to protect them as best we can.
“More people will be required to be by themselves at home.
“While they are on their own, let’s guarantee that they are never alone.”
Officials added they were working to create a helpline for those considered vulnerable and in need of advice in the coming months.
They said they were working with local authorities and the groceries industry to ensure people could continue to receive the supplies they need.
Speaking on Saturday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned without strict measures the NHS would struggle to cope with the coronavirus crisis.
He said a “heroic and collective national effort” was necessary to halt the spread of the virus before it was able to cause significant loss of life.
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