Nearly 6m people face tighter rules as new lockdown guidance issued for over-60s in England

Nearly six million people face stricter lockdown rules after the Government issued tougher guidance for the over-60s.

Downing Street says that every person over 60 in England should now follow the same lockdown rules as the “clinically vulnerable”.

Over-60s and the ‘clinically vulnerable’ are being asked to “be especially careful to follow the rules and minimise your contacts with others”.

They should also “continue to wash your hands carefully and more frequently than usual”, and “maintain thorough cleaning of frequently touched areas in your home and/or workspace”.

The move is an extension of the guidance to “be especially careful” that previously applied to all over-70s.

The change brings up to 5.9m people over 60 into stricter lockdown guidance than the rest of the population.

Officials say the group covered by the new guidance is not to be confused with the‘clinically extremely vulnerable’, who are the 2.2 million people who shielded in March.

The guidance applies to people in England’s new lockdown, which begins for at least four weeks from this Thursday.

Explaining the policy today, Monday, November 2, the Prime Minister’s spokesman added: “The over-60s should take extra care because there is evidence they could be at greater risk of becoming seriously ill.

“The scientific advice is that people in the over 60 age group do have a higher risk of becoming more unwell with coronavirus, so they should take extra precaution.”

The new guidance says: “If you are clinically vulnerable, or over the age of 60, you should be especially careful to follow the rules and minimise your contacts with others.”

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Age UK has applauded the change to ask over-60s to follow the same rules as the clinically vulnerable.

But director Caroline Abrahams raised questions over what support they could get.

Unlike the ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’, the ‘clinically vulnerable’ and over-60s are still not being advised to stay away from work.

In addition, there is also no special financial support for them to stay away from work if they choose to.

Ms Abrahams said: “The science is pretty clear that people start to become more vulnerable to serious illness from COVID-19 from about age 60, or even a little younger, so as far as we can see this decision is clinically correct.

“However, it does raise big questions about the support on offer.”

At the weekend, the PM told the nation: “If you are clinically vulnerable, or over the age of 60, you should be especially careful to follow the rules and minimise your contacts with others.”

That clinically vulnerable group includes all over-70s, and anyone under 70 with one of a range of underlying health conditions.

These include conditions such as diabetes, MS, asthma, COPD, emphysema, bronchitis, Parkinson’s, MND, cerebral palsy, or a BMI above 40.

Furthermore, pregnant women and those with chronic heart, kidney or liver disease are also included.

The ‘clinically vulnerable’ group has not officially been extended to include all over-60s.

Yet despite this, the over-60s are now being asked to follow the same rules as the ‘clinically vulnerable’.